Jack and Charlie, my fourteen year old twins, started high school earlier this week. William, who is 10, started rehearsals for Oliver!, the musical that comes with an exclamation mark at the end, no matter where in a sentence you put it, which is weird, except for the fact that we’re pretty damned excited about the whole thing, so we’ll go with the exclamation mark for now.
Those things — High School! Musical! — have only in common that they’re the beginning of something B-I-G for the boys involved. Lockers! Taking the bus! Open campus! Girls! (for the boy who went to a boys’ school for all those many years before high school.) Orphans! Dancing! Gruel! (But not dancing gruel. Those things are separated by the mighty exclamation mark. Dancing with bowls of gruel in your hands, though, I understand that’s on the menu.)
It just occurred to me that I could write an entire blog post punctuated only with exclamation points, except I also plan to write about my own life, which tonight anyway requires the opposite of the exclamation point, a punctuation mark I just invented called the “downer point.” It looks like a downward facing arrow. I’d add it right here, but I’m no good at that kind of thing. You’ll have to imagine it.
Here’s the downer: the boys are beginning new things. But I am not. I think I said a month or two ago that I found a really great agent to work with. Really good guy. Sells a lot of books. Writes books about how to write books and they make sense and are inspiring. This is so not a downer. This is wonderful and I am thrilled. The downer is that he won’t be selling my book until I revise it. The whole thing. That’s a lot of chapters, blogfriends. All chapters that could be better and all chapters I have to think really hard about in order to make the better. Have I mentioned how this is HARD? Waaah. Plus I’m scared. AND I’m BUSY. I have to drive people places and work at my job and cook and clean and …. you know. I’m whining. I’ll stop.
Also. Finding your locker and not getting egged by seniors and learning how to talk to girls and having to eat a steady diet of gruel and then getting sent out in the snow to be sold to the highest bidder is actually, when you think about it, way way worse than tightening up each and every scene of your book for a guy who’s waiting patiently for you to get on with it so he can maybe sell it for you. Just look at my kids. They get on with it. In fact, they’re getting on with it with so much verve and excitement and mad confidence that a new punctuation mark needs to be invented for their acts of crazy, getting-out-there-in-the-world behavior. Something wild-eyed. That’s how I should revise my book, don’t you think? Like them: full tilt, knowing it’ll all work out one way or another and whatever happens, it’ll be interesting and fun and, if you keep your head down, the chances are pretty good that you won’t get egged by a senior.