Austin messes with me

It's a remote post! Not that you'd know it. Texas is messing with me
for a few days: I'm down in Austin for the film portion of the South By
Southwest (SXSW) festival extravaganza which begins today, switches to
an interactive and then music portion, then dies in a haze of beer and
barbecue. Actually sounds like a lot of fun.

I've got to be an on-air personality down here, for whatever that's
worth. And if you're just appearing on the Web, I don't even know what
you call it — certainly not "on-air." The magazine is having us make
short video packages (90 seconds) each day which is severely cutting
into my movie-and-panel-watching time. But I got some new clothes, so
it's not all a wash. More on that later.

I did drive out to my mom's place, though, in my rental car. Thank God
I had the option of a GPS, though, because trying to drive and
constantly check out my mapquest directions in the middle of all of
that vast flat Texas nighttime would have completely freaked me out.
GPS took me the fastest route, but it was 90% undedeveloped backroads
with abrupt turns and no streetlamps. I rode for extended periods with
the brights on and could think of a hundred ways things could go Very
Bad. No wonder so many recent horror movies are made in the Austin
area. But enough on that, too.

What I'm really here to share is my dream! And of course that's what
everyone reads blogs for. But it's a writing dream, so here goes. But a
preface: I skinned my last synopsis of 13K words down to a mere 3K, so
we're on the right track. Gotta hit bone on the next go-around. So, the
dream: I apparently had submitted my book to an agent or publishing
house which, shock and horror, decided to read it. This is all
pre-dream. So I'm going to the agent/publishing house and they hand me
several sheets of paper that have been hand-typed (old typewriter
fonts, not computer fonts) on something like onionskin paper, and
partly filled out with hand-written notes. Basically, it's a summation
of why the book won't be published/represented by them. I only remember
one comment/critique, something like, "It was so nice that you decided
to take the reader through every emotional journey the lead character
took," but somehow I knew that wasn't a positive thing — they were
being sarcastic about it being belabored. All I knew is it meant I'd
have to rewrite the damn thing, and that they hated it.

But the real thrust of the pages wasn't the book critique — it was a
list of every time I'd called or contacted one of the company's
representatives to find out what was being done with my book, and
extensive notes detailing what a belligerent jackass I'd been each
time. As if this was the kind of thing agents and publishers are really
thinking about.

Another anxiety dream, sure. But I hadn't done any writing yesterday
and being in Austin I won't have time to do it for a few more days, so
where he heck did this one come from?

The subconscious is a strange land, even stranger than Texas.