String together some rocks, not stones. Not semi-precious tumbled and shining. Just gray hard rocks, fist sized. Then knot that string. Then swallow it. And you will feel like I did staring at my cell phone, waiting for it to ring.
I have something akin to a “team” now. Team Therese. Or rather, Team Therese’s Book. My agent, the impossibly tiny little redhead woman who wears bright Egyptian tunics amid the blacks and blues of Manhattan. She is my human shield. She protects me, writing wise, from all the world that is not my shed. Then my editor, who bought my book and has slaved to fluff and tint it into full Senior Prom quality presentation. They’re my girls. They gently took my hand and said, “Careful now, Dear. The waters are cold in this river. Let’s wade. We’ll tell you where to step so that you’re safe.”
Now I have been given a Publicist. And an associate publicist. A social media consultant. (Which…hells bells, I guess includes this blog.) Marketing rep. And more to come.
The phone rang and even though I’d been staring at it I lept and squeaked. I smashed my fist on the keyboard and paused my Sporcle game where I name all the presidents (I’m up to like, 39. Never remember McKinley or Fillmore).
Those women were together in a room on the other line. Well, not my human shield. I was bare chested before them. These young women had earned very prestigious placements at a very young age. They spoke fast, with clipped confidence and a measured amount of flattery.
My girls know I’m a big ball of insecure and I need to be reminded of my genius every third paragraph or I go whimpery.
But these girls. Take the one girl in your high school who was supreme. Attractive yet friendly. Dating a college guy who was in pre-med. Running track, not cheer-leading, but still Harvest Festival Princess and Prom Queen. Top grades across the bored, fit in between her charity work. Her fashion is fresh, she hungers for success in all things and uses her wolf-incisor brain and plough-horse work ethic to get it. See below. They come in different guises, but you know the girl I’m talking about. Jesus loves a winner.
(my apologies for not properly citing these terrifying girls or their Senior Portrait photographers…most are watermarked tho!)
Now crush 98% of those perfect godesses. Because 98% of them went to New York and left again. Because holy shit, New York.
And here I was talking to a room full of them who not only made it, but made it fast and big. From my shed. In my a wet Oregon backyard. So wet that every time I cross my stepping stones that lead from my porch to the shed I reenact the farting rocks scene in The Bog of Eternal Stench in Labyrinth. Squelch sluckkk squirch.
But no more hand-holding the in the cold clear shallows. These dames were in the center of the rapids, being smacked on all sides with frigid life-threatening water, which to them felt great. Invigorating! And they were waving their arms,
“Therese! Yeah get your ass out here! Swim if you have to. What do you mean you don’t know how to swim upstream against white water rapids? We all did! Shut up, let’s go! C’mon we got work to do.”
Early on my responses devolved to shapeless elongated vowel sounds. “Unnnn,” for assent. “Yawhhh” for “likely so.” Just an exhalation of “ehhhhhuh” for mild dissent. Part of that was hating conference calls, with their over-talking and half-second-long-enough-to-be-awkward relay delay, part of it was my stomach stones, and part was the realization that there was nothing I could give these ladies and that their keeping me in the loop was a courtesy. They own the book, after all.
The clearest and most authentic thing I said was,
“WHAAAAT? Don’t talk to me now! I am on the phone! On the counter. ON the COUNTER by where dad killed the sugar ants! In a paper towel. The only paper towel that has chicken nuggets in it I’MONTHEPHONE!!” Frickin’ Spring Break.
My agent Jessica, early on, in her inimitable gentleness, began to teach me the delicate grace of shutting up.
“I don’t want ‘Sex’ in the title. That’s like, tawdry and my book isn’t tawdry. And it’s not really Victorian it’s 19th century,” I’d mumble petulantly.
What Jessica said would be something like, “Therese those are excellent points and they do need to be addressed…..something about book marketing…something something….something I’m a brilliant star from God….something let’s put a pin in it.”
I soon realized this meant, “Hey, Sweecheeks. They’re frickin’ Little, Brown. There is a chance, however slim, that they might know more than you about….absolutely goddamn EVERYTHING when it comes to producing this book. So shush.”
The team told me to just keep to myself and not worry my pretty lil head til at least summer time when the real marketing and publicity pushes start. Fine, good news. That bolstered me. I felt like I should say something.
“We’re Team Therese’s Olde-Time Vaginas Book,” I shouted into their conference room from across a continent. “That’s our name. Team TOTV. Or…”Old Vagina” for short. Is that all? Ok thank everyone reallyappreciateit BYE.”
I can sparkle, truly. Next time I will make a conscious effort to improve the luster and value of those those stomach rocks, to turn basalt to diamonds, to raise their cut, clarity, color and carat to a level I can be proud to show off.
But then again hardly anyone can tell the difference between diamond and cubic zirconium. I’m probably gonna start there.