Nick: Can you make your bed? I'm asking you to make your bed.
[Stephen picks up a pillow from the floor and tosses it in the general direction of the bed but, Stephen being Stephen, the pillow falls short of its target.]
Nick: Stephen, make your bed!
Stephen: Okay, God.
[And he proceeds to toss his comforter back on the bed. And the pillow too. He shoots me a disgruntled look and then proceeds to shabbily arrange comforter and pillow in a marginally acceptable way.]
He'll be 13 in a few weeks. Cynicism unfortunately runs in the family.
The other day, my mother phoned me when I was in the middle of something. She tells me in a near breathless voice that sometime in the middle of that night, she awoke to the sound of something moving in her house. The door to her bedroom was open and she looked out into the hall, where she saw a fairly young woman dressed in blue jeans and a tee shirt, nicely dressed, actually. The woman blew her a kiss. My mother drifted back to sleep, confident that she had just seen her guardian angel.
She wanted to know if I thought her crazy.
What does one say in such situations?
If I were writing this as a scene in a story, it would be followed by her waking up the following morning to discover that her house had been ransacked. Jewelry, televisions and anything of apparent value would be missing. Painting and pictures would be flung from the walls, littering the floor. The refrigerator door would be open but, accept for maybe a carton of spoiled orange juice and a shriveled apple, there would be no food inside it.
"They even stole my bananas," my mother would say.
But none of that happened in real life.
Instead, I'm just a little jealous, wondering why my guardian angel never makes herself known.
Odds & Ends: I spent most of the last couple of months revising another novel, meaning that I’ve now been querying agents on two different novels. Last week, another agent emailed asking if I have a short story collection in me—the answer, of course, is yes. Which means that three different book-length manuscripts are now in the hands of different agents.
Which explains why I’d kinda like a guardian angel to shine some luck my way!
Odds & Ends II: According to Wikipedia, Philip Roth has a memoir coming out later this year called NOTES FOR MY BIOGRAPHER. This made me very happy. As long-time readers of this blog know, I’m something of a Philip Roth nut (see here and here). However, there is no such book. I emailed Andrew Wylie, Mr. Roth’s legendary agent, and asked how I might get a copy of the memoir for review purposes. Mr. Wylie (who, sadly, is not one of the agents looking at my manuscripts) emailed back to tell me that the Wikipedia mention was in error. Which is too bad, because a full-length Philip Roth memoir would be a must-read.
Odds & Ends III: A few weeks ago, I learned one of my flash fiction pieces won Packingtown Review’s 2011-12 Flash Fiction Contest. Which was a great surprise! I’ll post a link as soon as it’s available.