Writing Life: Tea Dreams
Argh god crap dammit late argh.
Did anyone even notice? Any road. Today’s post is once again not about pony stories, but instead is about…tea. Tea, and dreams of success.
I think anyone who’s gotten as far as mailing out submissions in a serious way (is “gotten” even a word? Spellchecks always like it, but I just think it sounds awful…) has probably had their own private little success-fantasy, the dream-world moment where suddenly they’re the next Steven King/Neil Gaiman-style pop icon, or the next David Foster Wallace critical runaway, or whoever. Maybe it involves going to conventions filled with screaming fans, or spending a year as a prestigious university’s Writer in Residence. Maybe it’s more along the lines of making piles of money, buying a private property in the woods, and never speaking to anyone except your editor again (and can’t we all just wait to see what J. D. Salinger was cranking out in the bunker, now that some relative gets to sell it all off?).
I’m going to break the whole stream of thought here to draw your attention to the end of the last sentence — this is another formatting thing I wonder about; I know that when you have a parenthetical thought (and I have lots of them) you don’t end it with any punctuation, and if it falls at the end of the sentence, you put the final punctuation of the sentence outside the closing parentheses (parenthes?). But (see, I just did it again) sometimes there’s a parenthetical that ends in punctuation itself, usually a question mark, but sometimes even something even more complicated:
“No!” she snapped, and tried not to think of Elizabeth (who would have just laughed and said “Tell him no, but don’t be rude about it.”).
Isn’t that awful? Period, close-quotes, close-parentheses, period. Four punctuation marks in a row; that’s practically a new form of sentence. Anyway, you see what I’m getting at — just another of those more uncommon formatting situations that I’m never quite sure of the rules in, and haven’t had a lot of luck finding a solid answer on. They say good things about Eats Shoots and Leaves, but during my bookstore leafing-throughs it struck me more as an interesting coffee-table book than a reference guide — anyway, back to the original train of thought here. Just a quick two paragraphs or so of, well, parenthetical thought.
So fantasies of success. Pretty natural in most fields, I assume — or maybe not; maybe the science Ph.D.s I know just do their work and never think about how awesome it would be to be That One Dude whose papers they all base their work on (it may also be a lot less fun to be That One Dude in, say, nuclear physics). And mine always involve tea.
The love-affair with good tea is reasonably recent. I moved to the city I live in now about two years ago with a bag-of-Twinnings standard for tea-drinking, which I still go back to once in a while. But there are two tea-houses within walking distance of me (I know, right?) where you can kill a good afternoon relaxing and trying the different kinds out for a modest price, and that turns you into a snob awfully quickly. So we went from microwaving water and dropping the bag in to getting an actual tea kettle and a little mesh ball for looseleaf, and a while later we added a couple of teapots (with matching cups), and now I’m starting to dream of the day where it can all be right there on my desk.
The desk in this vision is not very important; I use one of those Office Depot not-actually-wood desks that at least manages a passable impression, and that gets me by just fine. It lacks drawers, but I just lose stuff if I have drawers. But on top of the desk, I have a large mug, a little metal teapot with an infuser basket set into it (probably with dragons on it, ’cause why the hell not?), a couple of spice canisters of looseleaf, and an electric kettle (I’m not usually a big electric gadgets person in the kitchen, but saving trips to the stove is a big part of this fantasy).
It’s a nice, modest dream, I think. Whatever else may come of the writing, enough success to ensconce myself with tea and tea-making paraphernalia that are mine, part of the basic supplies of my desk, not a subset of the kitchen (which, okay, is also my domain, but it’s not the same thing). And realistically, I could probably go out and get all that today for under fifty bucks — I know where I can get a good deal on this stuff, after all. But it wouldn’t be the same — and the cats would knock it all over anyway; a room with a door is also an integral part of this fantasy. Sorry, sweetie.
And that’s the dream for today! Sorry for the late post. I would say that life got crazy, but honestly, I slept from midnight until noon — the usual “been burning the candle at both ends a little too long” shutdown response. Hopefully things’ll get a little more consistent now.
EDITED ADDITION: Also, why does WordPress think that a “possibly related entry” is “anime tour of my sexuality”? I’ll admit, I was too much of a coward to click the link and look for connections…