L.I.T.E.R.A.L. 01: Have you ever been published?

Posted in fieldtripstotherealworld.com, L.I.T.E.R.A.L., Writing

Sketch by production designer Anne Seibel, who created the stunning backdrops to the writer and artist-filled parties in Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris (see Vanity Fair’s wonderful article From Sketch to Still, which the above image was taken from. It discusses how those dreamlike sets were created on an indie budget).

I was, for a long time, one of those writers who worked alone and had no idea how to get in touch with other writers (something which I mentioned in my first Postcards on Writing post). But every now and then, I did have idle daydreams of stumbling onto a community: I imagined myself walking into some dark, smoke-fogged dive bar, full of people having scintillating and somewhat drunken discussions in dim corners. All these people would be eccentric and fascinating in their own ways, and all these people would be writers. Anyway, I had this vague idea that I’d be the ‘new guy’ and these wonderful nuts would take me under their wing, and I’d suddenly find myself part of a colorful writing community, which threw crazy parties every weekend–one evening I’d be having dinner and drinks in someone’s art and book-filled apartment, another evening I’d be disco-bowling while discussing writing and authors, or at some beach drinking beer, talking about books, and skinny-dipping…you get the idea (apparently Woody Allen had similar fantasies–his sparkling film Midnight in Paris is like a writer’s ultimate wet dream).

One of the parties in Midnight in Paris takes place in a taxidermy shop.

Anyway, this is a very roundabout way of saying I was recently invited to join L.I.T.E.R.A.L., a weekly blog meme for authors hosted at Indie Books. According to their page, L.I.T.E.R.A.L. was “created to serve as a support group for participants of the Author at Once workshops” (I went to one of these workshops a few months ago–it was hosted by writer Mina Esguerra, who I had the pleasure of interviewing for my post Romance and Self-Publishing). So I said yes, because being part of a community of other people who struggle to write stories sounds pretty appealing, and I’m no literary snob about it. And happily neither are they; L.I.T.E.R.A.L. says it “welcomes all writers, and from anywhere in the world, who’d like to weigh in on the topics!”

And so we come to the first topic posted on their site:

 Q. Has your book/story/epic been published? If yes, how was the experience, and where can we buy your book? If no (or not yet), why the delay? Is there anything you know you should be doing to make it happen?

Okay, let’s start with the first part of the question. I’ve been published before, but while my articles and a few of my short stories have appeared in various magazines over the years (like Rogue, Esquire, MEGA, BluPrint, Uno, Real Living, Men’s Health, etc.) and an early version of a chapter from my novel, Kissing Yellow Dogs Goodnight, was published in an anthology in England called We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful (the title is a reference to the Morrisey song, and it makes sense because much of the writing is from the students of the University of Manchester–well, you fans of The Smiths know the connection) the novel itself isn’t published yet. If you want to know the full, crazy story behind the novel and its current status, read my post How I Lost My Novel. It’s a nutty story, and I’m glad I’ve survived the experience.

Cover of We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful–which happened to be designed by me and Pancho Esguerra, using the inflatable penguins he gave me. Can you spot the one ‘successful’ penguin on the cover?

Now on to the second part of the question, which is “Why the delay?” Well, it was delayed partly because it took me so long to finish the novel–it was only a couple of months ago that I submitted my final draft of the novel to my agent, Ivan Mulcahy. Now I’m trying to keep myself busy and not pester him for news. I’m aiming to practice Zen-like patience, since I’ve learned that, aside from the amount of time you need to actually write a novel, the time between submitting a manuscript to actually getting a book published and on bookstore shelves can be quite long, silent, and dragging (for a clearer idea on how much time, politics, and people are involved in releasing a book, read this New York Times article called Waiting for It).

As for the last part of the question, “Is there anything you know you should be doing to make it happen?” my answer is: the best I can do at this point is to keep writing, and know that whatever happens, I did the best I could (I really did work my butt off! Whew). Oh, one other thing I can do: ask all of you out there to cross your fingers for me. I need all the help I can get!




  1. Aug 16, 2012

    I think we should have “what to do while waiting for feedback” as a future topic! Haha. But congratulations — looking forward to reading it soon.

  2. Sep 27, 2012

    Crossing all my fingers and toes for you, Cha cha. Even if you’re still waiting to hold that baby of yours (thanks for letting me read the first few chapters!), man, the fact that you got to finish your story (and even after you lost it!) it’s such an inspiration (so says this procrastinator friend of yours).

    • Oct 10, 2012

      Oh boy! Those first few chapters you read have been revised like crazy, you may not recognize them when they make it to print. Thanks for the words of encouragement, Mabel! Am now resting before I dive into the next project…

  3. Dec 7, 2012

    Wow! As an aspiring writer, you are truly an inspiration! I guess it might have been all too difficult finding out your hard earned words, the words you painstakingly put up for 2.5 years, vanished! Gone! Poof! But, thank God for resilience and vigor and combat! I can’t wait to read your novel. :)
    I read/heard once, about the positive results of losing an ongoing novel (errm, work-in-progress?). This is a chance, that when you rewrite it, you only remember the good parts. And your second try at it, it will be way better than the first one. (Sorry this is not verbatim. I swear the original words were more inspirational! :))
    Good luck on your endeavor!
    -Instant Fan,
    Princess 😉

    • Dec 7, 2012

      Aww, thanks for the kind words, Princess. At the time I worried that there might have been good bits that had been lost forever (like when you wake up from a nice dream but it inexplicably slips away if it isn’t written down) but a chance to “only remember the good parts” is a good way to look at it.

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