Monday, January 10, 2011

"Meeting of the Minds"

...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


The Words Crafter said...

I'm thinking of hiring a proxy when my time for this comes. I was so tense as I read this. I have to believe the only reasons you survived were because of your belief in your book and The Dude. Whew!

I was ready to be very upset on your behalf! I'm looking forward to the release :)

Lola Sharp said...

Huzzah! I can't wait to pimp it. Let me know when I can pre-order it and when you have a release date, so the pimping can commence.

I love The Dude. Love that movie. And, I love that you clearly enjoy and respect David. I'm glad you have Your Own Dude in your corner.

Go kick some ass in 2011, Elliot. :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The Dude visited me the other night and said, "You know, man, if it weren't for flashbacks, I'd have no memory at all."

I'm glad that the Dude abiding in your thoughts kept you sane in that meeting. Maybe Money Guy approved of your jeans -- after all, they are frugal.

I will say large prayers that all goes smoothly for you and that your book hits the bestseller lists. Say one for me, all right?

And remember : this isn't Nam, this is publishing, they got rules. Dumb ones, but rules. LOL. Have a great week, Roland

B.E.T. said...

This was an engaging post! I got reeled in from the beginning. I've never actually seen this movie but it sound hilarious! Awesome that you're living it right now with your book. And congrats on all the progress, I'm so excited for you! Hope the rest of it goes just as swimmingly.

Colene Murphy said...

What an awesome tribute to your Dude! Loved the little peek into the publishing world as well!

Keep us posted on your release!

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

They should have given you a beeper and sent you for coffee.

Jodi Henry said...


Wounderful post! Really. I always have funny little thoughts in my head when serious shit is going on. But I'm like Nose Ring girl and can't hid the smirks as I smile at my thoughts.

I get caught a lot and have to come up with some clever bit to say instead of revealing what's really funny.

Love this little bit of insight into the publishing world.

you have an award at my blog.


Elliot Grace said... brought about an interesting day. I'll admit a secret though...I spoke to David on the way in, and knew what was in store for me, explaining the lightheartedness. Not to be misinterpreted for bravado however, to which there was none:) And all means, "The Big Lebowski" is a must see!
Thanks for reading,

The Golden Eagle said...

I was hooked through the whole post. Great tribute!

Looking forward to the release of your book.

gideon 86 said...

Hi, EL,

I'm glad I dropped in. I've been super busy trying to finish up my latest WIP.

I enjoyed your post. Very amusing. I cracked the the movie references just seeing it about two months ago.

You do have a way with words...


Donna Hole said...

Awesome El. This was invigorating. In now time, we'll be purchasing the book.


Terry Stonecrop said...

I saw the movie and your comments made me chuckle. Sounds as if you've got a tough enough hide to get through this. And I think that's what it takes.

I get the feeling this meeting jabber was just quibbling that will fade away. And Charm will triumph!:)

Poetic Justice said...

I'm glad I stopped by! Great post Eliot :)

DEZMOND said...

he he a little passive can be romantic he he ... :)

Cinderita said...

EL - I gifted you something. When you've got a moment, I'd love for you to come by and see.

The post is titled "It's Award Season"

Elliot Grace said...

...thanks Cinderita for thinking of me when passing along your much deserving award:) Your kind words are inspiring. I'm a fan:)


JEHELB said...

WTH is a passive phase? And cut? Cut what???... The orange cats tail off??

Olivia J. Herrell said...

I'm so glad your cover's ready to go, I LOVE it! Thanks for the peek in to a session I'm looking forward to having one day. I'm so excited for you. And so happy that you have The Dude! Thanks, David, for taking care of my buddy, El, and his baby.

And now I'm going to have to go rewatch The Big Lebowski, it's been a long time.

Spring is just around the corner, that rebel, Olivia

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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