Kick Ass Fall

(Beware: I say “ass” a lot in this post. Just a fair warning to the very, very faint of heart. )

So Ross and I sat over our giant family calendar to try and figure out what the next few months are going to look like. After we were done, I looked at everything on it, put a hand to my mouth and let out a maniac little giggle. Ross and I have dubbed this “Kick Ass Fall”. This is because we realize that if we don’t up our game and kick this Fall’s ass, it will kick ours. I’m serious.

Also, I finally saw the movie Kick Ass. I had always figured it was too gross/crass for me to appreciate, but I caught the TV-edited version (WHY don’t they sell those?!) and I TOTALLY LOVED IT. If you can get past the fact the first few minutes accurately portray the mind/actions of a high-school boy, there is a pretty awesome point. If you haven’t –Basically, this kid decides to do something with his life. His progression into superhero never really happens, because… he is never really a “superhero”. He’s just a kid in a dumb suit and he gets the CRAP beat out of him every time he tries to do something awesome, but he does not give up. Towards the end, he almost gets killed and has to decide whether or not to go back into the fray to get the bad guy. He doesn’t want to, because – would you? But he has this moment when he decides what to do, and he says this line that has stuck with me for weeks. He’s beaten, bloody, bruised, and totally sh**-whipped. But as he’s pulling his mask back on to go out and do what he needs to do, he says – 

“With no power comes no responsibility. Except that’s not true.” 

It’s a spin on the line from Spiderman, where Uncle Ben says the superhero phrase – “With great power comes great responsibility”. Kick Ass’s spin on it was way more powerful, in my opinion. Because I know I have a lot of reasons to make excuses for myself. I could rest on the “I just had a baby” thing and ride it out for a few more months. Or a year – and then I could switch it up to “I have a one year-old!” There’s always Hollywood’s favorite – the adorably confused, mixed-up, totally emotionally messed up, overly-dramatic twenty-four year-old. I could wear cute Forever 21 outfits and go sit in Starbucks, sipping my latte as I stare out the window with a 

Where’s my life going? * sigh *. But I can’t do that, because I know what I should be doing. 

As I said, this Fall could go one of two ways. I kick its ass, or it kicks mine.
There are many reasons to believe the latter will come to pass.

1) I’m still wearing the lovely extra thirty pounds.

2) I’m still querying, but for the past few mornings, I’ve woken up to rejections from literary agents in my inbox. We appreciate your query. Unfortunately, it’s not for us – but we wish you the best! 

3) We’re homeless. 

Okay, we’re not really homeless. (Hey, I never said I wasn’t an overly-dramatic twenty-four year-old, just that I wasn’t going to stare out a window and dwell on it)… but we’re kind of “homeless”. A few nights ago, we were up with Aryn at about 3:30am-ish. Ross decided to check his financial aid to see if the refund had posted, and, God bless him, he tried to play it down for his frizzy-haired, bleary-eyed wife. But here’s the sitch (talking like Kim Possible makes things seem more manageable). 

My husband is awesome and totally brilliant. I’m serious. He has amazing grades and he’s already been published many times. So, this year he is a Research Fellow, and he gets to earn some money. But, as students know – achievements come with a price! So – the money he’s making now makes it so our loans got severely cut. So we can live in our wonderful apartment until our lease is up, but after that, it gets weird. We’re by no means “broke”, but apparently babies come with a lot of hidden costs. So it’s going to be like The Pursuit of Happyness, Lisman-style.

And

4) Ross and I start school within two weeks of each other. This semester, he has the equivalent of a 40-hr work week, and I’m driving to Malibu twice a week. 

So it’s looking pretty rough. However, God is awesome – and for some reason, I’m _____________ optimistic. (pick a word – ignorantly? naively? blindly?) Because, call me crazy, but I think it’s going to be awesome. I’m going to try to make sure I try to conquer this Fall, because who gets their ass handed to them by the season filled with comfy scarves and pumpkin spice lattes?

For every one of life’s backhanded slaps, I’ve got a plan.

1) Yeah, I’m still feeling like the mom from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. So Ross and ordered the 25 minute version of Insanity. It’s called T25, and it’s basically a 60-day, all-out, crazy workout and diet. I went to the doctor on Tuesday, and she cleared me to start working out. I asked her if I could do a serious workout, and she told me to take it slow. And I was like –

Just kidding. I smiled meekly. But she was very sweet in a “be kind to yourself!” kind of way – and all I wanted to do was make sure my stitches wouldn’t bust open. This is Kick Ass Fall, Dr.! Its eat or be eaten! 

So I started the workout. And it’s day four – and yes, I’m still crawling to the shower when the 25 minutes are done. 

I thought I would feel like this: 

But it really feels like this:

So it has not been easy, but at this point, giving up would be harder. 

2) Then there’s the book. This one has been more difficult to deal with, because I don’t handle rejection well (does anyone?). But this novel has been part of me for about ten years, and it’s been a serious project for the last two. I wrote it, trashed it, and then wrote it again. Problem is, it’s 126,000 words – about double the normal length for a “debut” YA novel. So one of the top agents responded that it was too long and would be too hard to get a publishing house to put it in the market. What do you do with that? So Ross and I have been editing it. (Mostly Ross, because I find a reason not to cut EVERYTHING he finds). We trimmed 10,000 words of fat off the manuscript – but that’s still not enough. So I’ve been thinking – I don’t know if anyone is going to take this. I need something more accessible. 

                       So I’m writing another novel, and it has a December deadline. 

Why the crazy deadline? Well. I was accepted to a rather awesome writer’s conference in December. (Thank you, God. ☺) And I’ll be talking with agents and editors – and I have to have something to pitch that won’t make them grimace (I think 126,000 word YA makes agents grimace). So I’m writing this new one. Lower fantasy, set in this world. High concept, 60,000 words max. Can I do it? Well, sure. Can I do without losing my mind? That’s debatable. But hey, if I lose my mind, this blog only gets more interesting. Win win.

3) We are moving in with my parents.

Before you wince for me, let me say – I get the stigma. So does Ross. And it bothered me for a while, but then I stopped and thought – 

                                               Screw stigmas. 

My family is awesome and fun and, truth be told – we’re over there all the time, anyway. I hate being home alone, my sisters are fun (when we’re not clobbering each other like amateur MMA fighters and YES WE STILL DO THAT EVEN THOUGH WE’RE IN OUR TWENTIES), and I’m a better person when I’m around them. #4 on the list of troubles is also remedied by this – we have people to watch Aryn, and Ross can study without worrying that I’m home alone with a screaming baby, ready to pull my hair out. 

 So yeah, we’ll be cramped. And yeah it might not be ideal. But being together like that makes me feel like we’re the Weaslys and our little place is the Burrow and I’ll take that over a clean, empty apartment any day. 

So I have nothing to offer, really. I have a soft, weird body that doesn’t feel like mine. I have a manuscript that no agents want to read, and a bank account with numbers our landlord will shake her head at. Power is kind of out of the question.
But I still have a responsibility to try and make the best of this situation.
Kick Ass Fall has arrived, and at the end, we’ll tally the score. I’ll either come out on the other end of this victorious – or I’ll have a lovely metaphorical boot print on my butt cheek.

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