...found myself under an odd set of circumstances today, as Mondays, like the pranksters they are, can sometimes throw at us.
Placed along one end of a lengthy, antique table, I'd bet on cherry from the appearance of the rich grains, I was an unexpected guest for a meeting in David's office. While not sitting on either end, I nonetheless felt the burden of attention resting its weight upon my shoulders. For this meeting involved my book. My creation. And for the past eleven months...their project.
To my left, an editor working under David's influential glare. Across from me, an intern from the college, golden nose ring looped through one nostril, learning the ropes of properly slicing up a writer's pride and joy. Two seats down from her, the young chap in charge of cover design. Next to him, the money guy. I'm sure there's a more proper title, but David's assured me that, "Money Guy" works best. And reclined at the head of his table, my top editor, and the person who once sent me an email saying, "I think you may have something," David W.
Money Guy arrived in suit and tie. Nose Ring whisked about in a plaid skirt reminding me of potpourri. The editor and designer may have shared the same Old Navy credit card, and David wore the usual...khakis and a button down. My washed down Levis may have been frowned upon by Money Guy, but no one else seemed to mind.
The mission behind the meeting was to decide whether or not "Charm" was ready for galley publication. I wasn't invited, but couldn't resist.
Basically, I listened. Soaked up information like a fattened sponge. Watched Nose Ring jot down a line or two of gibberish. Felt a bit out of place, like The Dude, wandering about Mr. Lebowski's mansion in search of his stolen rug.
"So what's the overall prognosis," David was saying, focusing his gaze on The Editor.
"Not sure," was the mumbled answer, two words sneaking through a mangy beard shaken in salt and pepper.
"Cover's ready to go," Designer announced, offering me a wink.
"Good to hear," David said. Then turned back to Editor. "What do you mean you're not sure?"
"We're still thinking about a few passive phrases that may need cleaned up. Therefore...we're not sure." His eyes narrowed as he cautioned a glance in my direction.
I studied the man, again recalled my favorite movie, and thought, "Obviously you're not a golfer."
Money Guy cleared his throat, heads turned. "We need to remember the bottom line here," he began. "Another rough draft, yet another read, and we'll soon be faced with raising the price of the finished product in order to make a buck, due to the overall length of the thing, of course."
At that point, I'm fairly certain The Dude would've said, "So if you could just write me my check for ten percent of a half million...five grand...I'll go out and mingle."
David caught me grinning to myself, raised an eyebrow, and said, "I thought everyone was in agreement that this piece was worthy of its length. That too much cutting may harm its integrity. Am I mistaken?"
"No cutting needed," Editor said. "I'm just...still thinking, that's all. And why the race?"
"Spring release," David countered. "How passive are we talking here?"
Editor's reply was, "Huh? How passive?"
Nose Ring looked up from her note pad. "What's that mean?"
Money Guy said, "Sometimes passive is nice...and on budget."
Still lost in "The Big Lebowski," I imagined saying, "And I would like my undies back."
"Oh stop," David's brow joined atop his nose, forming a solid bar of silver fur. "I mean...well you all know what I mean. So anyway, let's ask the writer. El? What's your take? Too many passive phrases still in there or what?"
I was lost in thought, remembering a scene from my favorite movie, something about a bowling alley, and a guy named Jesus.
"Hey! Elliot...what are you up to down there?"
I snapped to attention, yearned to say, "Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback," but instead went with, "I left some of the scenes passive on purpose. An entire book done in passive can invite migraines. A little, if done right, can be romantic. If done right, which hopefully it is."
"But I'm still thinking about things," Editor leaned in, spouting off.
David offered me a smirk. Quick, but worthy of its purpose. "Okay, you think...the rest of us will work. Galley in a month. I still think we've got something here..."
The Editor scowled. Nose Ring failed to hide a grin. Money Guy folded his arms over a sagging belly. I took in the scene, studied the comical expression on David's face, and knew why I couldn't stop thinking about my favorite movie.
David was The Dude. Is The Dude. My Dude.
This post was for him:)
Off to the Galley. Thanks for reading...EL