Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Soon You'll Be Clamoring For Me Never To Write Again

A few days ago, I blogged that writing fiction gives one control. Alas, I was unaware of just how much control fiction has over real life.

Over the past couple of weeks the following events have happened.

There was a series of snowstorms, including a blizzard.

Electricity was gone for the five hours before the women's freeskate at the Olympics.

Cable TV went out for the exact six hours that an Olympic figure skating retrospective was scheduled for.

A torrential rain and wind storm knocked out a window in my dining area.

My toilet flooded, causing damage to the apartment downstairs, currently occupied by my fabulous new downstairs neighbors who I adore because I hardly ever hear them.

The flooded toilet happened last night. It took me entirely too long to figure out how to stop the flooding, and it took even more entirely too long before someone came to help with the situation (my frantic phone call to the landlord was either ignored or mishandled or something). I went through two rolls of paper towels (the kind no trees die for) to sop up most of the water on the bathroom floor (a situation Scooter found particularly entertaining; he's one of those cats who both loves water and loves being exactly where I don't want him to be, and if he gets typhus, it's not my fault).

After the stopped up toilet got unstopped (which I, in spite of several hours of effort, had been unable to achieve), it was decided the carpets, which were sopping wet, needed to be cleaned and dried out. So at 8:30 last night, two men came over to do that job. They brought with them this neat machine that beeped wherever things were wet, which was pretty much everywhere. They made me take all the books I'd written and put them on a dry part of the floor (they wanted me to move my file cabinet also, and I flat out refused). They then shampooed the carpet and then set up a giant carpet drier, which had to run all night long (it's still running, since they haven't come back for it yet).

When all this began, Scooter hid under the bed, but after the men had been gone for a while, Scooter emerged. The carpet drier scared him too much and he ran back into my bedroom. I picked him up and carried him out. In a short while Scooter adjusted to the noise and the smell, and at one point he laid down on the carpet like it was one of those magic finger beds truly classy motels have.

I, on the other hand, got seasick from watching the amber waves of grain.

The worst thing about this particular misadventure is that I was so drained from the experience the only thing I had energy to watch last night (other than the carpet) was American Idol. I've been doing so well biding by my resolution not to watch, but what's a woman to do? In my defense, I watched a fair amount of it (three or four singers) with the sound off, because that's when the carpet was being cleaned, but I gather they were in the mediocre middle anyway. So I probably saw all of the front runners making their way through Rolling Stones songs.

I won't watch tonight. I swear I won't.

Oh, back to why I'm never writing another book again. All those disasters I mentioned- blizzards, loss of cable, loss of electricity, they all happened in Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone. And while no toilets overflowed in This World We Live In, there is (without giving away hardly any plot at all), a flooding scene and a torrential rain/windstorm scene.

Now what if I were to write a fourth book? You think things would suddenly get better? Sun shining, happy folk, daisies and buttercups? I think not. I think there'd be more pain and suffering and disaster and millions watching Idol. Oh the humanity.

If I had to track down that one moment when things began to shift, I'd attribute it to my character Miranda coming to life in Germany and having her own Facebook page and friends. Before then, I was in control of my fiction. Now my fiction is in control of the planet.

So now, not only am I permanently and solemnly renouncing all intentions of writing a fourth book (just as permanently and solemnly as I renounced ever watching American Idol again), I'm seriously considering rewriting the 205 pages I've written of Blood Wounds, which, without giving away any plot whatsoever, has blood and wounds in it. A book about daisies and buttercups sounds a lot safer right now.

I owe it to the world to spare it the blood bath my writing might engender. I'll sacrifice my chance at the Nobel Prize For Literature.

I will happily accept the Nobel Peace Prize, however. As soon as the carpet finishes drying!


Elaine Marie Alphin said...

But if you wrote a fourth book, you could introduce overflowing toilets - with no plumbers and carpet cleaners, that certainly would be a disaster....

My disaster is that I'm in Wyoming and I find I failed to bring any flash drives (!) so I'm having a tough time figuring out how to transfer photos from my MacBook to my website computer so I can update my site... We are never in control, I fear.

Okay, it's not the end of the world, but it is amazing how setbacks can seem like the end of the world when you're trying to get a book done - at least I got nearly 4,000 words done over the weekend before I had to switch gears to proof the final Ghost Cadet before it goes to the printers... Good luck with shifting your attention from Idol to Blood Wounds!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Elaine-

I don't even know what a flash drive is. What I do know is that my camera finally died today (I guess the bunny rabbit action was a little too much for it), so I ran out and bought a new one.

We'll see how many pictures of Scooter I take with it before it dies as well (better it than Scooter).

I've gotten no work done today, and won't tomorrow because of various errands that have to get run. Also I have no idea what to write next. I know where the book is going to end up, but I'm missing a transitional scene. And I'm finding it close to impossible to concentrate on anything with the carpet drier going on and on and on.

Congratulations on getting your proofs done. Not the most fascinating part of being a writer, but one of those jobs that lets you know you are one!

Shweta said...

Please Susan , don't renounce your intentions of writing a fourth book. With all that happening ,you can surely add it in the fourth book just as Elaine Marie said.

Look at all the new plot possibilities. :)

Hope you get back to Blood Wounds , because a fourth book or not, we still need a new book from you ,SOON :)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good moring (well at least here it's a morning, and a good one) Shweta-

Actually it's a beautiful morning. They're predicting sunny and 72 degrees, which is perfect any day of the year, and especially perfect in March when I have errands to run and a mother to take outdoors.

I'm also in an excellent mood because I took it upon myself this morning to unplug the carpet drier (I checked, and all the carpet was bone dry). And I figured out the transitional scene in Blood Wounds. I even changed the ending just a little bit.

My guess is I'll dawdle in the mornings, and get the first draft done by Monday night (I'm visiting a school in New Jersey on Tuesday and there's all that figure skating to watch next week).

Life has returned to being good. As long as I don't write a fourth book, maybe it'll stay that way!

Anonymous said...

Ever since we found out about your books, it's all my sister and I can read. Please write another, your readers will help you get through the good and the bad.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Anonymous and Anonymous's sister-

It's good to know my readers are here to help. That could come in very handy someday.

I love Scooter too. Although he's going to love me a little less when I begin vacuuming (which I'd better do in the next ten minutes!).

Meaghan W. said...

Oh yes! Please write another, my idea was that Miranda was atleast 3 years older when something big happens or something and she wants to write again. That was my idea hahaha. But yes! Please write more and more!

Anonymous said...

Oh, please write a fourth book!

Anonymous said...

O please continue!!! Even though I almost through "The World We Live In" out the window (I didn't was a library book)I want to know what happens next. I finally accepted that it most likely won't be a happy ending, you pretty much killed those dreams...
Please continue!!!!! Never say never :-)

Anonymous said...

You have to write another book in your life as we knew it series, I have to know more! They are all so much fun ( well the situation isn't fun) to read. I couldn't put the world we live in down, i need more on alex and Miranda!!!!!!