Status Updates

by JT Ellison

Hello, New York.

I’m up here for BEA, a crazed two-day junket with nary a moment to spare. Lunches, dinners, signings, meetings galore, with the Big Apple as the backdrop—this is one of my favorite events of the year. There’s something so… so… writerly about flying to New York and meeting with your people. I’ve said it many times in the past, find a way to met the folks who are publishing and representing you. It’s a relatively small investment in your future that pays huge dividends in the end—not mention gets you fed. And fed well. I often wonder if my people assume I come to New York just to get them to take me to the fancy restaurants…

I digress. I’m on deadline, trying very hard to finish a book that’s proved quite difficult for me, simply because I always assumed it would be the last book in the series, and now it’s not, so I have to rethink the whole sub-story. This quick New York trip aside, I’m working every waking daytime minute on the end of the book (already written, just trying to bridge the mid-point to the climax properly.) I made a decision two weeks ago to take a real vacation from the distractions of the Internet while I’m finishing—especially no Facebook and no Twitter.

Ah. The bliss of silence. The time saved aside, the quietness in my head is so worth it. I’m thinking in massive creative bytes, totally absorbed in the work in front of me. It’s lovely. So lovely that I’m wishing there was a way to do this full-time. It’s something I think we are all struggling with—the necessity of self-promotion versus the horrid impact it was on our creative life.

Over the past week and a half, I’ve been participating in a psychological study on the genesis of creativity for a major university. They sent me nightly surveys, and I took them faithfully, answering the questions honestly. What I found didn’t surprise me too much: I often have major A-Ha! moments around 2:00 in the afternoon. I spend between 5-6 hours a day actively pursuing my creative endeavors. I am a basically happy person who gets very excited about perceived breakthroughs. I am utterly and completely OCD and most likely have a slight case of Asbergers. Cool stuff to know about yourself.

I enjoyed the endeavor so much that I bought a Levenger Five-Year Journal so I can start making a few notes on my creative day. My daily personal status updates.

But without the outlet a sheer randomness that Facebook and Twitter provide, I’ve had a few of those thoughts build up in my head. I started writing them down as they occurred to me, just as a test, just to see what my mind was really doing with its newfound freedom.

Here’s a partial listing. I’ve realized that out of context, I must sound mad, but there it is…

  • I dreamt of bears… again. I’m starting to get worried that I’m about to meet a tall, dark, handsome grizzly.
  • Listening to Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus makes you ten times more likely to let people cut in traffic.
  • It’s Purgatory, people. Stop overthinking it.
  • When God created pigs, he did it for the sole purpose of making pancetta.
  • It’s kind of sad when you get confused because the ear plugs have so many choices.
  • You’re in a public bathroom. It’s the end of the roll. Do you change it?  Discuss.
  • Face it. You can’t fix stupid.
  • Kitchen porn. Two words.  Oh.  Yes. (Kidding… Williams Sonoma)
  • Boys and their balls.

Randy found this experiment amusing enough to jump in with a few of his own. If you can imagine us, late-night dining in New York on the most perfect carbonara ever, rolling on the floor laughing, you’ve got a good idea of how this went.

  • Who knew Larry King’s random column was so prescient—I like pie!
  • Why can’t Hank Azaria get a series?

But the best one, my absolute favorite of the week?

  • I’m holding the fifth novel I’ve written in my hands, and I’m feeling a wee bit verklempt.

Yes, the ARCs came for THE IMMORTALS the day I left for New York. I am so, so overwhelmed. They’re super pretty—it’s a Halloween book, so the colors are awesome. I’ll debut the cover here in a few more weeks, I need to stay focused on the prize, which is finishing the next one.

It’s been a great few days. Crazy, disjointed, insane, but great. So bear with me (heh-heh) for not having anything truly profound this week. (and double for give me, because half the list was lost because my hotel internet went AWOL, along with the boys from Fleet Week. I’m actually praying this goes up on time. Srysly.)

(And major thanks to everyone who’s asked about How Nashville Is this week – we’re recovering. Slowly, but surely. Your love, hugs, thoughts and prayers have been amazingly helpful!)

In the meantime, I’ll bid you adieu.

So tell me… in 140 characters or less (or 140 words…) what are you up to???

Stay classy, Murderati. : )

Wine of the Week: Santa Cristina Sangiovese


33 thoughts on “Status Updates

  1. Zoë Sharp

    Hi JT

    What am I up to? Trying to finish an outline before Tuesday that makes sense.

    Great news on THE IMMORTALS – can’t wait to see it!

    While you’re in NYC, go have breakfast at Brasserie Les Halles on Park Ave South. Definitely worth it!

  2. Chris Hamilton

    Re: Purgatory and overthinking.

    Considering the last few weeks, I would think you have a deeper appreciation for what really matters. Very little of what we do, day-to-day really matters. Mostly it’s how we relate that really matters.

    Unless you’re talking about Lost, in which case, it’s not Purgatory. The island is real and all that crap really happened. But Desmond is mostly right about things.

    What I’m up to: working. Writing. Other stuff.

  3. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    You are living the life, girl. Is this where you thought you’d be ten years ago? I’d say you’re on top of the world.

  4. Eika

    What am I up to?

    First draft of a one-page synopsis is two pages and growing. Oops.

    Yeah. My goal for draft one is under five pages, which I should do (I’ve got the important plot elements for half the book in two pages, so the next half should be another two) but it’s still depressing.

    Hang in there. Good luck on your book, and give my regards (and good wishes) to Nashville as they recover.

  5. Allison Davis

    Painting my kitchen and 50 pages to my book group both by Monday night. Tonight: Taking two teenage girls to "In the Heights." Dancing shoes are in order.

  6. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Just did BEA. Much smaller this year, or maybe I’m just used to it, now. Got great research done around NY for my new one (one of them), but I can barely walk today.

    Bears, huh? I never dream about bears.

  7. JT Ellison

    Rob, and a room with a view, you know? Thanks for saving my bacon this morning and getting this posted for me!

    Z, are you coming to TFest? We’ll have to do that if you are… Sounds delightful!

    Oh Chris… if you knew me at all you’d know that I was being wildly ironic – it was about LOST and I have spent weeks deconstructing the series. Never fear.

    Allison, I always have Christmas deadlines too – crazy, crazy times. Hope the end of the school year brings less stress!

    Louise, thank you! I know they make no sense out of their construct, but they each made me laugh, so that’s a good thing, right?

    Stephen, hon, we were just talking about you last night – I handsold a copy of BOULEVARD to a friend…

    Oh Judy, you said it. We spend so little time doing it, too.

    Barbie – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!

    Eika, get the story down, then tighten it to one page. And bless you, I dread synopses.

    Allison, can you come paint mine? All my household chores are on hold and it desperately needs to be done. And the shoes? Make sure they’re red!

    Cornelia, honey, I’m so sorry. India? I hope you’re hanging in there.

    Alex, I missed you yesterday – I looked for you. Glad it was a good show – I thought it was outstanding this year.

  8. JT Ellison

    Dusty – I see a beach in your future…

    Oh, Alex, about the bears? It’s bizarre, the bear fetish has always been my totem, so to speak. So for me to be under great stress and dreaming of bears is fascinating. Protection? Wisdom? Or maybe I just really need a Colorado fix???

  9. Nancy Laughlin

    Love you list, J.T! If you do meet the tall, dark, handsome grizzly, send him my way!

    I thinking massage, hair appointment and hopefully a warm, sunny weekend!

  10. billie

    sounds like fun, JT!

    I’m reading pages for a good friend and loving them. Harvested dragon tongue beans for lunch and yellow squash for dinner. Administered many tubes of apple-flavored equine dewormer gel this morning, am determined to edit the latest project over this long weekend so it can sashay along to a couple of editors, and am hoping my 15-year old doesn’t really want to go to a live music thing this evening, as I would much prefer to stay home and continue this lazy day.

  11. PK the Bookeemonster

    Counting down until 4:30. Weekend is for projects: October newsletter, applications. Will visit with sister tomorrow.

  12. KDJames / BCB

    BEARS! OMG, they’re everywhere! My daughter and her boyfriend are right now THIS VERY MINUTE camping somewhere in the middle of Colorado with the BEARS! They’re on a two-month driving/camping trip through the Western Wilderness and up into Canada near Banfffff (hope the BEARS in Canada are as friendly as the people) and back down through the Black Hills and back to New Orleans, their start/end point. So far, they have survived Texas and a corner of New Mexico.

    So I’m obessessing over BEARS! My interpretation of your dream: You MUST go out west immediately and collect all the BEARS into one safe place. So I can stop worrying.

    Also, plan to spend all weekend wrestling this ms into submission-readiness and convincing myself that "delete all" is NOT AN OPTION.

    [sorry, BEARS bring out the CAPS in me.]

    Happy Birthday, Barbie!

  13. Robin McCormack

    I’m so sad I couldn’t go to BEA this year. Maybe next year.

    I’m reading The Silent Cry by Kenzaburo Oe and analyzing it for my nobel literature class. A depressing book really, so will have to follow it up with a ‘rati’ book.

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