Friday, July 23, 2010

...thrown a curve


...contrary to what has become a popular rumor floating about, my unexpected hiatus is not the result of revision burnout, choosing instead to commit myself fully to the dreaded day job. No sir, not in this lifetime...or the next. The following is an account of the past week...I'd personally classify it in the mental/drama genre, but that's from a biased perspective.

I received an urgent text from my wife last Thursday which stated something to the effect of..."washer has blown up and is flooding the downstairs!"

Stuck serving my ten hour sentencing at the day job, I had no choice but to offer my heartfelt condolences until my work release later that evening. (that's how I view the day job...prison with health care benefits:)

Hours later, upon inspecting the damage, it was apparent that a full load of laundry had been rolling about when the washer's pump decided on an early retirement. Despite my wife shutting off the water valve, a considerable trickle continued to bleed through our first floor laundry room, to our finished basement where I stood next to my daughter's cat for several minutes, the two of us watching in awe as the weight of the flood had managed to ruin an impressive amount of ceiling tiles, and was now pooling onto the floor in front of the downstairs fridge.

Fast forward to Saturday, following hours of sopping up and the continual usage of a dehumidifier, wife and I found ourselves at the appliance store, doing our best at low-balling a salesman for an energy star washer reminiscent of something out of The Terminator series. (Top load washers no longer have agitators...who would've thunk it?)

As we were closing the deal, my oldest son was at home, on the computer, wandering about somewhere in the Web's seedy underbelly. No not porn...but from what I could later determine, hop-skip-linking from one low-budget youtube skit to another, laughing at other's stupidity and feeling cool...and not realizing that he was being tailed by a virus, until the damage had already been done.

Spyware seized the culprit, but not before it had infiltrated into our hard-drive, and like a tick on a stray mutt, embedded itself somewhere way down deep into the folds of our Dell.

On to Monday, where, upon dropping off the computer at the Geek Squad for repair, I stopped at Wal-Mart for some of this, a little of that, and as always, ventured into the book section...a magnetism with the kind of pull I'm powerless to defend.

While studying this week's new releases, I spotted the latest Karin Slaughter novel, and found myself in need of the cart for added support. Her ongoing investigative thriller series featuring Special Agent Will Trent, a fellow she's described as a Jeff Goldblum look-a-like, and his partner, Faith Mitchell. Slaughter can pen a juicy mystery with the best of 'em, but it was the title of her newest addition that drew my angst.

"Broken."

My title. It had been my title for the better half of a decade. And while I'd spent a good deal of time researching other novels with the simple one-word name-tag, it was pleasing to discover that for the most part, Broken was usually included in a title phrase. Broken This or Broken That. Only a scant few were simply named "Broken," and none by anyone I recognized from the best-seller list.

But Slaughter's an established carnivore in shark infested waters. At the present time, I'm a guppy.

So I called David, who said, "Slaughter's a nationwide treat. You're gonna be a local hotshot for a time until that day when your ticket's punched. I think it'll be all right. Go drink a beer and chill out."

Okay. A week spent hunched over revisions, corrections now made with lead and eraser instead of a backspace button, and a plump bill soon to be arriving from the appliance store, with my checkbook already listed in critical condition.

The computer's back. The funds are low. But our floors are now dry and our clothes are clean once again.

Even without an agitator:)

17 comments:

Judy Croome said...

I don't usually laugh at other's trails and tribulations but...ahahahaha! You make your week from hell sound hilarious, although the thought of no washing machine makes me shudder.

And what a blow about the title of your novel. Who do these big shot author-sharks think they are taking the titles right out of our little guppy mouths????? :(
Judy

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Wow, you've had quite the week. Hopefully next week will be better for you. :D

Jules said...

Sorry for all the drama and such but you did a marvelous job at finding the humor or at least disguising it as such. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

The washer had me upset. The virus downright crazy, but the title, well, I just cried. I feel your pain Elliot. I'm so sorry.

Your publisher is right. She is a national author. How about instead of 'broken' you can use "Breaking". Jus a thought.

Crimey said...

Sucks about the basement and the washer. This stuff happens and it could've been worse which is what I always tell myself.

As for the book title, much to do about nothing. Good luck in finding a new one, but then again, that's the publisher's job.

JJ said...

HA! I'll see your wet basement and raise you sewage and sauerkraut...long story (see my number 2 blog June14th).

Aside from keeping your hard drive where it belongs, if you use appropriate protection you shouldn't catch anything. :P Two words, Adaware, Avast. Google them (they are both free so it ain't like I'm getting a kickback)

As for the title, I've lost a few of my babies too. I know we can all use any of them but there is something awesome about being unique. A one word title can be alluring but a good descriptive title can evolve into a life of its own. Titles like, Broken Before Dawn, Broken on a Side Street, A Long Ride to Broken beg to give us a sense of story before we ever read the blurb...and they will belong completely to the first writer to use them.

I've assured one simple title by misspelling it. Though, I did see it on a license plate. :| I'm not sure how you would misspell Broken. And it would have to relate. Brokin...could be a misspelled note, or from dialog..."I ain't seen no one brokin worse without havin' been run down and tread over," which is kind'a sad if you picture a depressed person.

I always pull my titles from the stories. You can always find a new title in the words.

good luck sealing your ceiling. :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Sounds like you had enough agitation this week even without an agitator.

Would the title fit with your book if you added a question mark after it?

BROKEN?

Water gushing washers. Viral computer invaders. Losing your beloved title. A hell of a week, Elliot.

If Tropical storm Bonnie becomes Hurricane Bonnie, my weekend may become ... unique, too.

Have a much better new week, Roland

Terry Stonecrop said...

Oh dear, some weeks just seriously suck but you managed to make comedy out of it. Haha. Loved it:D

How about Shattered, Damaged, Mangled or Busted?

I hope things settle down for you.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yikes! What a week! I'm so sorry you've had so much stress. Hopefully things are on the upswing :)

The Words Crafter said...

You should get together with my Director. You both have a way of telling hellish tales with wry humor that elicits laughter from the listeners without taking away from the seriousness of the actual events. Did that make sense? My husband has had to format my 'puter 3 times in the last 12 months. Dang. Beginning to believe much of it comes from facebook. Was the other title in upper case or lower case? You could do the opposite, and add some periods before or after...but it wouldn't be all bad, either, if people picked up your book (in the very near future?) by mistake, thinking they've gotten the goodie everyone's talked about. They could learn of their mistake later and reply how much better yours was anyway...or-maybe there's a perfect, eye catching, gut instinct buyer reaction title still undiscovered...."to all things, there is a purpose..." Hope your weekend is uneventful!

Lola Sharp said...

Oh man, I hate having a Hell Week. They're beat.
When it rains it pours, and all that.

I'm sorry you had to endure one.

As for the title sitch (and I sincerely feel for you...I do like the title 'Broken'), all I can offer you is my support, and that a one word title always runs a risk of being 'taken'. Maybe you can come up with something that you love even more, still using the 'broken' in the title.

Here's to a great weekend. *cheers* *clink*
~Lola

**Heidi** said...

Not a good week in the record books but tomorrow we will celebrate 15 years of marriage minus the four kiddos so that oughta make it better...that and some nice cold beverages ;0)

Helen Ginger said...

Sounds like your week was definitely a trial. Hopefully, the coming week will be better.

Man, I hate viruses. Whoever creates them should be put into one of those racks where you stick your head and hands through so the rest of us could throw a tomato at them.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Ouch! Tough week. Shake it off, life's full of em, huh.

Elliot Grace said...

...sometimes finding humor in horrifying situations is all one can do to carry on.
In the end, my kids are healthy, the wife's happy, my editor's a pal, and the dogs are content...therefore all's well:)

Anita said...

The whole time were you thinking, This'd make a good blog post. That's how I've been thinking lately, but then I rarely end up posting the "event." I lost my microwave this week and because it's combined with my oven, the whole thing's about $2,000. Yikes!

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