Oh, geez Wednesday already? Blogday? I need to write something or the agent will have my ass in a sling. Whatever that means.
Well, it’s been a hellish week and it’s only halfway done, which is why it seems silly to stop everything to write this when all I really want is a nice shot of that tequila we had at Scot and Anne’s house. But anyway, when I’m not writing I’m usually running our business, Massage U. Years ago I invented a product that helps people with hand and forearm pain, called Roleo, and we sell it on Amazon and elsewhere through Massage U.
Anyway, we had some new inventory coming in and it looked like for once it would go straight through (usually Customs stops us and charges us about $1,500 to X-ray our shipment, presumably looking for drugs, guns, other contraband, and of course, human trafficking), until I heard from the shipping company that the FDA put a hold on it. This was last week after it had been in port for a few days already. Then, we’re notified that the FDA is doing “an examination.” They don’t say what they are examining or why, but we can’t sell anything until they are finished with us. And as of this moment, we don’t know when this examination will take place, but we do know it will be at our warehouse and with any luck it will be less painful and awkward than a visit to the urologist.
So what does this have to do with my book? Or with writing? In part, this relates back to my last blog about writing what you know. So now, I know the sheer terror of not knowing what the damn FDA is going to do, but knowing enough that, as a government agency, they will expect me to bend over and take it like a man. Just like the urologist. And I can use that sheer terror in my writing the next time one of my characters is being held over a barrel by a faceless government agency that could not give less of a you know what that his or her business is suffering, and could have used more KY during the exam, and I don’t mean Kentucky.
In SMOKING IN BED, my characters are faced with a few out-of-their-control moments, some of them small and insignificant to anyone but themselves, and others that impact the lives of many. So while I may not know what it’s like to be in a war zone, I do know what it’s like to have my entire livelihood held for ransom by the FDA, or going to the urologist (which I haven’t done very often, thankfully). And did I mention I already pay those bastards 10,000 dollars a year? The FDA, not the urologist. Bastards!
A lot of these life things, whether business or personal, end up being tests of endurance, or of being able to let go and not focus on the source of the stress. It’s easy to tell someone else to do that, let it go, but not so much when it’s us experiencing the stress or hardship. Sometimes we ruminate and worry, like my characters often do. Sometimes we have weird dreams. Stress works itself out in many ways.
So how do I let go? I don’t, really. Maybe for a few minutes, I might breathe and relax. Or get some good news that helps. But right now, for example, I have the World Series on, and I’m nervous. Sure I’m a Mets fan and so don’t have a dog in this fight (that’s probably an unacceptable idiom these days), but as a New Yorker I have been conditioned to hate the Red Sox (I know, “hate” is a bit much. I hate the collective “Red Sox” but don’t have a problem with their players or fans. And Fenway is beautiful) and I live in LA and so the Dodgers are my second-favorite NL team. So yeah, I’m nervous about the Series, and all of a sudden my cheap internet starts going in and out so my TV, which is on the internet instead of cable, is also going on and off during the game. “Runners on first and second, two outs, here’s the 2-2 pitch…” black screen. It’s making me crazy.
What was this blog about again? Oh yeah adversity. Things out of your control that cause stress, or danger, or worse. Some of my characters, when confronted with these tests, lose their minds with worry, angst and guilt. Like me. But then, a lot of them come up with a solution. Or at least fight back at whatever it is that is hurting them or threatening them, even if they don’t think they have a chance in hell of succeeding. I like to think that after I’m done with the worry, angst and guilt, I will have some resolve, or a plan, or at least some of that tequila from Scot and Anne’s house.
And what about the FDA? Well, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I called my Congressman’s office and they got right on it. He seems like a nice guy and he’s balder than I am so I like him. And the TV stopped going on and off. But Kike (who’s name, without the accent over the ‘e’ is offensive to many) just struck out again and it’s still 1-1 in game two. Let’s hope this goes 7!
Please visit with us at Book Soup, a great, old-school bookstore in WeHo, on November 18 at 3 p.m. I’ll read some book, we’ll talk, you can buy a book or two and we’ll all have a fun time.
Smoking In Bed reading and signing @ Book Soup
And if you can’t make it, please take a look at my novel on Amazon.com, in eBook for Kindle. The new “Book Soup” edition in paperback should be ready by next week..
And don’t worry. It’s all going to be okay. Well, for you anyway. Me? I don’t know yet.