May 12th, 2009


Sometimes, Days Just Suck

Yesterday. Fuck me sideways, but yesterday was a lousy, stinking excuse for a day. And I have the US Postal Service to thank for that. On Tuesday, May 5th, Spooky mailed the corrected galley pages for The Red Tree back to my editor in Manhattan. My deadline was the 7th, so we figured we'd done pretty good. Didn't even have to ask Penguin for an extension. Then, yesterday morning (six days after we mailed the pages), my editor (Anne), emailed to say that she'd not received the pages and production was having kittens. As the package had been sent with delivery confirmation, we were able to see that, as of Friday (May 8th), the package had reached Bethpage, NY. I got another e-mail from my editor's assistant, Cameron, who hoped the missing pages might show up in the afternoon's mail run at 1 p.m., and we began discussing options, in case it didn't. Never mind all the many serious errors (most were formatting) that needed fixing before the ARCs are printed, I'd spent days proofreading the thing. So, it was decided that, if the pages didn't show, I'd have them faxed (of course I made photocopies of the corrected pages before handing them over to the USPS). However, Spooky called the Kinko's on Thayer Street, and discovered that faxing them would cost us somewhere in the neighborhood of $160. I'd already spent about $20 to mail the package. Oh, my fax machine died a few years ago, and I never bothered replacing it.

So, other options were discussed as the day slipped away. Perhaps, for instance, the pages could be made into a PDF, only that was also costly, and there might not be time. 1 p.m. came and went. I was losing the day, and nothing had been written on "Fish Wife." And I was starting to get angry and to panic. I pulled Angela Carter's Burning Your Boats down off the shelf and read "Master" and "Lizzie's Tiger," which helped keep me calm and distracted. I got word from Cam that it would be sometime after 2 p.m., not 1 p.m., before we knew if the pages had come in the afternoon mail. I gnashed my teeth. Spooky called New York. There were more emails. Right now, it's really all a sort of blur. Finally, Cam said we were getting no love from the mail room, so I faced up to the worst-case scenario, and began typing out the corrections, with Spooky dictating them to me. By 4 p.m., it was clear I wouldn't be done before the end of the work day, and I emailed Cam and told her so. She said that if I could get the corrections to her by 9 a.m. this morning, we'd probably be okay. So, Spooky and I spent two and a half hours compiling a detailed list of the 170 corrections that needed correcting, and sometime before 6 p.m., I emailed it to Cam (who was an utter saint yesterday, by the way).

And that's how I lost all of yesterday, when I should have been writing a vignette for Sirenia Digest #42, to the incompetency of the postal service. And this isn't the only instance of them giving me grief lately. A much-needed check was sent from my agent in NYC on April 29th (!!!), and has yet to reach me. Yesterday, Jennifer at Writers House declared it missing, and said she'd get with accounting about cutting a replacement. So, yes, thank you USPS. From here on, if I actually need something to get somewhere on time, I go to FedEx (and hope). Better yet, I may take the train to Manhattan next time, and hand deliver the pages.

So, lots of stress and work, but no writing yesterday.

As for last night, after pizza from Pizza Pie-er on Wickenden Steet (Spooky got takeout while I sorted through ancient photographs on my iMac and did some Wikipedia editing), we watched more of Season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I drank pomegranate martini's and got mildly inebriated. Later, we played a little WoW, and Shaharrazad got a shiny new wand. There's a screencap (BIG) of Shah on her felsteed, behind the cut, taken when we were wandering along the border between Zangarmarsh and the Blade's Edge Mountains. It's a very Vernian sort of landscape.

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