I’m writing this on my little netbook, Yann, while lying on my stomach on my bed. The cat is stretched out beside me, purring hard enough to shake the mattress (and he’s probably drooling, too). While the weather is still hot, there’s a good breeze coming through the window.
I’m not a summer person.
How long until autumn?
Too freaking long, damn it.
My writing time for the last two weeks was taken up with grammar, which is really boring but it pays extremely well. Me an’ Yann would sometimes consider trying something creative, late at night when we just couldn’t handle any more grammar, but when I actually stretched out my hands to touch his keyboard, Yann would growl, “Back off, bitch.”
Don’t ever try to argue with a computer. No matter how small he may be.
So now we’re finished the grammar and are turning our minds back to fiction. The switch can be a little disconcerting, so the stuff I’ve written in the past two days is utter garbage. But it can be re-written.
I have a lot of students this summer. Usually, summer is fairly quiet but somehow nothing slowed down this year. The only sign that school’s out is that I get the occasional slow day when someone’s on vacation. Oh, and I get to assign more interesting work so that the little buggers learn to think rather that just spew information back at their teachers. This can be difficult, as many of my younger students are in camp all day, and then their parents bring them to me and expect them to work for another hour. These parents, as you can tell, are followers of Tiger Mum.
One day, while waiting for a student to finish some writing, I was scanning the library shelves and caught sight of a book called Ten Ways to Destroy Your Child’s Imagination. Thinking it might be the book I needed to recommend to the Tiger Mum readers, I checked it out. Was sorely disappointed. It suggests things like don’t let them play by themselves and don’t let them have superheroes. There are a lot of quotes from Dickens’ stories. I didn’t even finish reading it: I just scanned the last half of the book. Everything you need to know is in the Table of Contents. Nothing that would counteract the effects of Tiger Mum.
Now that I’ve returned the book to the library, I’m wondering if I should recommend it to the parents. When I read Tiger Mum, I was heading into a world that was foreign to me. I knew some of the thoughts behind the theory – having taught many Asian students – but had never been immersed in the nitty-gritty of it all. I’m sure most Asians who read the book were thinking, “This woman’s a light-weight.” That’s pretty much what I was thinking about Ten Ways: You’re just preaching to the choir, man. But maybe these pushy parents will look at Ten Ways as something new and exotic and foreign.
Or maybe they won’t get the book at all. It’s satire, after all. And satire requires an in-depth understanding of the culture and society behind it.
Am still working on the finer details of self-publishing. The book was easy to write compared to setting up advertising and accounts on self-publishing sites, etc. It would be really nice to have an agent and a publisher and a publicist to do all this crap for me. But rumour has it that they don’t let you get away with that anymore. If you write it, you still have to do the work. Even the famous ones have to do readings and signings. I think the proverbial ivory tower was just a carrot dangled by some lying agent: If you do this, you’ll eventually be left alone.
But I have to bribe myself somehow. And fantasies of my ivory tower are cheap and plentiful.