7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 114)
— 1 —
We had our 18-week ultrasound yesterday and found out the gender of the baby. It’s a GIRL! This will be our fourth girl in a row (only our oldest is a boy). What’s funny is that having boys is very common in my husband’s family, so when our first was a boy, all his relatives saw this as confirmation that we’d have an all-boy family. I even joked, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we had more kids and they were all girls?”, thinking of it as some outlandish possibility that would never happen. Who knew!
— 2 —
I admit that for a short moment after the ultrasound tech told me, I felt pretty disappointed that the baby wasn’t a boy. (I mean, ya know, after three girls in a row, I was thinking that a little change of pace would be nice.) Since I often write about how the hiddenness of life in the womb tempts us to see unborn life as less human than other people, it’s interesting to see it at work in myself. I mean, if you could open up some portal to the future and have this baby walk up to me as a four-year-old child and say, “Hi, mommy!”, the furthest thing from my mind would be a feeling of disappointment. I’d never come close to thinking, “Hmmph. I wish you were different.” And yet when “the pregnancy” — the hidden child I’ve never laid eyes on in person — turns out to be a girl, I had that feeling of disappointment. My own random, selfish desires supersede the dignity of who she is as a person. Interesting.
— 3 —
My trip to San Francisco was wonderful! A big highlight was getting to have a long breakfast during my layover in Phoenix with my friend Leila, a blogger extraordinaire and mom of eight.
She’s just as sharp and interesting as she seems to be from her blog. Our little meetup was really one of the best parts of the trip for me!
— 4 —
You were all so right: my library — nay, my entire life — was not complete without P.G. Wodehouse. Based on the overwhelming number of comments I got in response to #7 here insisting that I check out some of the Jeeves & Wooster books, I bought Carry On, Jeeves to take on my trip with me. I finished it in two days, and thus realized that I simply cannot get enough of British humor involving witty repartee with butlers.
— 5 —
My meeting with my literary agent went very well. We had lunch at an outdoor cafe right by the ocean, and I had a bowl of the best clam chowder ever made. I had hoped that meeting me in person might somehow inspire him to say, “You know all those huge changes I suggested you make to your book? I see now that you are a competent, intelligent person who knows what you’re doing, so forget about it! Just relax and kick up your feet, and I’ll start shopping it to publishers as is!” Umm. Didn’t happen. In fact, he made some good points that convinced me even further than these epic changes will make it a significantly better book. Sigh. Back to the grindstone for me.
— 6 —
The glacial speed of this book project is made more painful by the fact that it’s somewhat unusual these days. At least among people I know who write books. My friends Ann Voskamp and Rachel Balducci started writing their books around the same time I did, and theirs are already in print. A typical route these days is that someone signs a deal with a publisher based on a proposal, and then has a hard deadline for the completion of the manuscript. It can be pretty miserable hitting the deadline, but at least it doesn’t drag on forever.
My agent doesn’t want to go that route. He wants me to have as much time as I need to get this book polished to perfection, and only then will we call the publishers who’ve expressed interest — that way I’m not rushed by deadlines. God knew what he was doing when he set me on this route: I’m no Ann or Rachel, and I undoubtedly need much more time to craft my story into a great read. I think my agent is very wise. But yeah. I sometimes feel like banging my head into a wall and screaming “WILL THIS EVER BE DONE?!?!?!”
— 7 —
Speaking of books, I stopped by a small independent bookstore out in San Francisco. It was an interesting experience in the psychology of choice. I had far fewer choices at the small bookstore. I’d gone in to get a new Wodehouse book, and they didn’t have it. The horror! As a modern consumer used to getting whatever I want at the snap of my fingers, I was quite annoyed.
But I struck up a conversation with the friendly store owner, and he directed me to a bunch of exciting new books I wasn’t familiar with. I would have never discovered them if I’d been able to get the thing I had my mind set on; the lack of choices forced me to expand my horizons — and I’m so glad I did! (If you’re interested, I walked out of there with: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much; The End of Overeating; A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome; and some other British book involving butlers whose title I can’t remember.)
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