Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Human Pendulum (And a Writing Update)

I'm on the train as I write this. I'm making adjustments to my recently completed novel, The Backwards Path. My wife is my first and most important editor. She is an avid reader and helps assure that my stories have the intended impact and are not being spoiled by any of my favorite faults. She's the first outside view that's so essential to the process.

But I have a problem. The train is mighty full, and I have a pleasant, conscientious dude sitting next to me. He even moved over to make room for other passengers without being asked.

And that's a problem, you ask?

Yes, because he's falling asleep.

There he goes.

Tilting. Tilting.

His head sinks forward, then leans my way. His elbow touches my elbow. The pressure climbs up my arm. I'm almost to the point of being molested, when--

Hey, um, sorry, um, whoops, um, yeah.

He straightens back up.

As I was saying, I'm excited about the impact of this novel. I've kept it close to the vest for two years. This was the first time I got to see if my risks and approach paid off. My wife and I are both pleased. I'll be able to start submitting in about--

Gah, he's coming again. Dripping over.

Not cool.

Dude, use a headrest! Those lumps on the top of the seats work. Really, they do.

I'll make this brief, because he's already doing it again. Narcolepsy perhaps.

As for other writing news, I'm happy to announce that my flash fiction piece "200 Minutes" has been accepted for Out of the Gutter magazine's special war issue. I've also been invited to submit a piece about our cabin building experience in an upcoming cabin-ology book.

The dude's using me for a pillow now.

Peace out.


Verilion said...

Ah how we love our personal space! It always makes me really laugh when people start falling asleep and there's all that head jerking business. And good luck with the novel.

Bernita said...

Jason, that's delicious!

The Quoibler said...


Congrats on the acceptance of the story! That's fabulous...

As for the slobbering walrus using you as a personal body pillow... not so good. If only cattle prods were acceptable tools for maintaining one's personal space.


Jaye Wells said...

Wonderful news! Not about The Sleeper, but the other stuff. I'm happy for you.

Church Lady said...

Congratulations!! Well-deserved acknowledgement of your writing.

Hope your train ride is short!


mermaid said...

Your neighbor on the train is symbolic of the part of you that doubts himself, and the readers who may fall asleep reading the new novel.

I guess he must be there to provide contrast to the confident you, and the readers who will be wide awake giving you the space you need to shine.

SzélsőFa said...

I like Mermaid's thoughts!!

I travel a lot by train and I know what you're talking about.

Therese said...

Yay! Congratulations!

I love your description, by the way. I was getting irritated on your behalf. Hee hee hee.

Terri said...

I for one can't wait to read your novel!
It must be wonderful to have actually completed one ;)
Sympathies on The Sleeper... although I used to be one myself... although a good Train Sleeper (as opposed to railway sleeper) should only allow the head to flop either forwards or backwards - sideways is just bad manners.

Saaleha said...

I see many congrats are in order. I'm sending a whole bunch your way. The biggest being for having a completed manuscript in your hands.

twizzle said...

wow wow wow. congrats!!!

The Anti-Wife said...

Congratulations on the story! And on being close to submitting. Next time someone droops on you, just mention casually to them that they might not want to get too close until your test results come back. Then cough a couple of times and if they ask, just make something up.

Shesawriter said...

Consider yourself lucky. At least he doesn't have halitosis.

bekbek said...

I like sleeping on the train.

Congratulations, Jason. That's wonderful news.


Anonymous said...

Verilion, this guy really had it bad. He was awake for maybe a second before drooping again.

Bernita, finishing a novel is such a rush.

Quoibler, I may be guilty of a little jab to get him up. Just a little one.

Jaye, thanks. :) I'm really looking forward to submissions. It feels good to do something concrete.

Church Lady, I'm afraid the ride isn't so short. Thankfully, I didn't have to endure him the whole ride.

Mermaid, that's an interesting take. On the bright side, if my novel inspires that reaction, I could market it as a non-pharmaceutical solution to insomnia.

Szelsofa, this guy was relentless. I hope the riders in Hungary are more aware of their surroundings.

Therese, thanks. =) It's nice to have some projects coming together.

Terri, it would be an honor to put a novel in your hands. If I make it, I'll save some signed ones.

Saaleha, great to see you! Thank you for the kind words. It's an exciting time.

Twizzle, I'm pretty juiced. :) I've already started mapping out the next novel, though. It's weird not to have a major project going.

Anti-Wife, I like that! I'm thinking hemorrhagic fever.

Tanya, that would certainly be a double threat. My kind of luck. I'm kind of cursed on the train. If it's not garlic man next to me, it's incessant head picker in front of me.

Bekbek, I always sleep on the train in the mornings. I plant firmly on the headrest, however.

Pearl said...

Sorry about your seatmate. perhaps you have a comfy look about you? has yr wife not mentioned this? ;)

congrats x100 on the writing sucesses.

Vixen said...

Congrats on your writing achievements! Next time hopefully your train ride will be less intrusive.

Lori Witzel said...

* hehehehe *

Ah, nothing like sharing your surface with total strangers.

Airplane trips for biz often result in the same sort of experience for me. Dude in front kicking his seat back, large person to the right wriggling their fleshy triceps into my shoulder, long-limbed guy in back inadvertently kicking my kidneys at random intervals -- what's not to like?


Found you courtesy of Angela, BTW -- and am delighted I did.

Anonymous said...

Pearl, I asked her. I'm not exactly pillow-ish. Maybe a nice futon.

Vixen, probably my #1 torment is people who sit in front of me and constant pick the little bits and bobs off their scalp.

Lori, welcome! I'm glad you stopped over. Make yourself at home. :) I know what you mean about the various seat assaults. Knees pressing into the back of the seat are my favorite. Lazy buggers.

briliantdonkey said...

Congrats on your acceptance for your story(ies). I can't think of many that deserve it more. Also, on the completion of your book. That is AWESOME! As for the sleeper, perhaps that is the kickoff point for your next book?


Anonymous said...

BD, what a nice thing to say! Thanks, my friend. =) I can't wait to start submissions on the novel.

Scott said...

That's great news all around, Jason. Congrats.

apprentice said...

Congrats on all the success and the novel way of relaying it!

Good luck with the submitting process.

angel said...

oooh i loathe public transport! so, cabinology... didn’t know there was such a thing!