Music, mentors, and the Midnight Meat Train

I started a couple of posts last week, and for some reason just couldn’t finish them. I think part of it was that I was under the weather with a cold (still fighting the remnants) and we had a two-day meeting. The presentations were somewhat informative, but I was really falling asleep at some points.

Now that MB is in music school, we’ve been going to hear lots of live music. Wednesday we heard a jazz band. Though I’m not into that kind of music, I can appreciate their skill and talent. But admission was $35, and not really worth it.

Friday night we went to hear a couple of MB’s classmates play in their rock/punk band in Brooklyn. I’m not into that kind of music either, but it was still fun. They are so young! Like 17 and 18. I kept thinking, I’m old enough to be their mom, though a very young mom. Also they are all so puny, but then I realized they all have several years of growing left to do. They were also very nice and looked like they were having fun, being goofy and whatnot, unlike the girl we listened to a couple of weeks ago who seemed to take herself very seriously.

This weekend we also saw the New York premiere of Midnight Meat Train, which played, appropriately, at midnight in a small, arty theater near us. There were a ton of people and we thought we wouldn’t get good seats, but it was no problem. The theater wasn’t even totally full. The movie was good. Not Oscar-worthy, but it was fun and well-done.

Saturday YP and I had our monthly photo outing. The theme this time was Public Restrooms. It was my idea and I don’t know why I came up with it. Funny how a lone toilet or urinal can look like an art installation.

Sunday I had an all day seminar on the “secrets behind selling your first book,” run by one of my former teachers. Her style is to have you read your piece aloud (if it’s short) and then she critiques you right then and there in front of everyone and in a sometimes brutally honest way. But that’s what I need at this point. Still, I was a bit nervous going in.

Right before I left the apartment, I read her email again, and only then did I notice, “Bring your agent letter,” meaning bring the query letter you plan on sending to an agent, which I hadn’t written! Ack! In about 15 minutes I threw something together, then rushed over to Kinko’s to print it out. Whew! Made it.

Overall the session was really good. It was from 2 to 8, and I thought, Holy cow, how will it possibly be 6 hours? But the time flew pretty quickly. Only in the last 90 minutes did I start to feel tired. M teacher talked a lot, giving advice and telling stories, but also critiqued anything that people brought in, which were mostly agent letters and short book descriptions.

I went first somehow, and she basically tore apart my letter, in a nice way of course. Also, she seemed to like the premise of my book as well as the subtitle, though she thought the actual title could be better so I need to think about that. When learning that my book was basically complete and that I had workshopped it in two classes, she said I should contact those teachers – one who she’s good friends with, the other whom she only knows in passing – and ask for advance blurbs for my letter, and after I got them that she’d write me one too because she remembered the piece I wrote in her class and that got published back in 2006. Sweet! And I was the only one out of about 15 she offered to write a blurb for, mostly I think because my book was done and it had been workshopped.

It shouldn’t be a problem getting blurbs from those teachers. One friended me on Facebook so I know she’s open to contact, and the other wrote my MLS recommendation and told me that he uses my book as a good example of structure in his other classes.

She also had an agent and editor come speak, and we had the chance to introduce ourselves and talk about our projects. I was nervous of course, and I’m not sure how they felt about my book. They reacted to the subtitle, so that confirms what my teacher said, but I think with my kind of book it really depends on the quality of the writing.

The only thing I didn’t like about the seminar was that the guy next to me had really bad breath. Every time he yawned it was like a toxic windstorm.

Tonight I must go dress shopping. Suddenly SG’s wedding is this weekend and I still don’t have an outfit! Well, I have a backup but 1) I’m not sure it fits that well anymore, and 2) I’d like something new. I bought the backup dress in 2004. Over the weekend MB and I stumbled upon this very cute boutique on Avenue B. The dresses were what I’ve had in mind, a little old fashioned, a little Audrey Hepburn. Hopefully I’ll make it there tonight.


  1. Uurinals? You went into men’s rooms? Tsk tsk.

  2. Ohhh that sounds like very positive feedback overall! Now I’m curious as to the subtitle :)