Sunday, August 05, 2007

i’m good enough, i’m smart enough and doggone it, someone tagged me

I’m sitting here feeling hot, because it’s hot, and stupid, because a couple of days ago I sent my manuscript off to a writer I know and respect, who recently started a new imprint for lesbian fiction, poetry and nonfiction—and I just got a very thoughtful email from her reminding me that they’re only reading poetry this year, not fiction, which I would have known if I’d read the submission guidelines more carefully.

What do I always tell budding writers who want to know how to get their work published? Read the fucking submission guidelines. Only I don’t say “fucking” because I’m at work when I tell them.

Sometimes I’m a very careful and thorough person. Sometimes I’m not.

To distract myself from my embarrassment, I’m going to respond to Bronwyn’s meme, 8 Random Facts About Me. She tagged me, which is exciting—like getting picked not-last for the volleyball team, or what I imagine that is like, since I never actually experienced it.

This meme has some rules:

1) Post these rules before you give your facts.
2) List eight random facts about yourself.
3) At the end of your post, choose (tag) eight people and list their names, linking to them.
4) Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they've been tagged.

Okay, now for the eight facts, which will all be braggy, because I’m trying to make myself feel not-lame right now.

1) I won a one-pound chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s in 10th grade for writing the best “Modest Proposal”-style satirical essay in my honors English class. I wrote about how Americans liposuction patients should have their extracted fat shipped to Ethiopia where it could be fried up as a tasty meal for famished villagers. I think I was ahead of my time.

And now that I think about it, the prize was kind of ironic, huh? As was the speed with which I ate it.

Although I’m not sure if I trust my teacher’s judgment. I was telling my book group about this guy last weekend—how he gave us the first paragraph of every essay we wrote (well, except for the “Modest Proposal” contest ones) and how he once spilled 7 Up on a stack of papers he’d taken home to grade, then tried to dry them out by placing the soggy essays in Ziploc bags. He was surprised when they disintegrated.

2) In second grade, this kid Ashwin and I were tied for first in a contest to name all 50 states. We’d both been able to name 27. Then Ben Bogart came along and named all 50 in alphabetical order.

3) In kindergarten, first, second and third grade, I won the Best Costume prize at my elementary school Halloween parade (which was not so much a parade as a small circle on the playground). I can’t remember what I was in first grade, but in kindergarten I was a flower (with a tutu around my face and felt leaf arms); in second grade I was an Olympic gymnast (with medals from the March of Dimes Reading Olympics and blue felt stars pinned to my red-and-white striped leotard); and in third grade I was a veterinarian (with one of my dad’s white lab coats and a fake parakeet on my shoulder).

I realize that bragging rights here actually belong to my mom, who had a way with felt.

4) I’ve run two or three 10Ks. The reason I can’t remember if it was two or three is because I have three 10K T-shirts, but one of them may be from when I volunteered to pick up trash with my high school Key Club after the Manhattan Beach 10K.

I’m not saying that I found the shirt on the ground, just that they may have given us a free one for helping out.

5) I’ve been known to impress people with my ability to eat and like anything. Well, anything that doesn’t include poultry or mammals. But smelly durian, finger clams, fish eyes? Bring ‘em on! And domestic weird foods too: garlic ice cream, anchovies, wine from the 99 Cents Store, all types of things ending in “-furky” and starting with “tof-.” I’ve never tried escargot, but I totally would.

6) I can tell the difference between a ’55, ’56 and ’57 Thunderbird. It’s all in the fins.

7) I taught myself how to French braid. This was a really impressive skill in 1989. As recently as 2001, I gave myself a head full of cornrows (also known as inside out French braids). Even though the ‘80s are coming back (and have been in various forms since the late ‘90s), I think I may be too old for white-girl cornrows.

8) Yikes, I’m really resting on my laurels here, aren’t I? I must have a recent accomplishment. What have I done this week that took some skill? Um…how about this: After an unfortunate day that involved so many cookies and cinnamon twists I started having hallucinations about diabetic comas, I decided to take a dessert hiatus. I’m not going all crazy Whole-Foods-no-sugar—there is still yogurt and cereal and jam in my life. And, okay, one piece of peach pie at the book group, because I’m not going to be rude.

But I’ve actually gone more than a week without cookies, muffins, cake or ice cream. For a member of the Klein family, this is a very big deal. I don’t plan to keep it up forever, just until the coma seems believably at bay, or until I find myself face to face with a dish of flan.

But hey, enough about me. I tag:

Alanna of Mindy Chiu/Inside the Mind of a Philosophical Iraqi

Amy of AmyRottencore

Claire of Taller Than Average Tales

Erin of Ereils

Jamie of Morning River

Mike of MySpace blogdom

Patricia of wasabi press

Tracy of Kaply, Inc.

Some of y’all haven’t blogged in a while. You know who you are. I want to read you. Warm up that “new post” button, troops.


ackleykid said...

I love ya, baby.

Claire said...

Is it sad that I'm impressed by people who can French braid? Pulling my hair back into a barrette - which is say, one step above a pony tail - is the apex of my styling skills.

I'm a little overwhelmed with the 8-ness of this meme, but it's in my head. (I swear memes end up taking me ridiculously long to write for what they are.)

thelastnoel said...

Arrrrgh, those submission guidelines!?!?!? You read so much sometimes that ya forget what they were. On the bright side: she'll know you next when you submit for fiction. Look at it as an unintended strategy to be remembered.

Cheryl said...

AK: As the kids say, I <3 U 2.

C: I know, eight is a lot (eight is enough, I've heard). Take your time.

N: Yeah, yeah, that was my plan all along!

Jamie said...

Is this meme, as in my grandmother Meme, or as in "It's all about me dammit, ME!" Either way, I guess I have to do this. Your advice to writers is perfecto:)

Cheryl said...

I think it's meme, rhyming with ream or as in "San Francisco Mime Troupe," which has always pronounced "mime" weird.

But I think you should make your meme all about your grandma Meme. It would be a meta-meme.

Matt said...

I did a project in college called MEMEmail. It was supposed to be like "ream mail" but everyone always called it "me me mail" or "mem email." It got on my nerves.
Though, as far as I know, memes are supposed to be sort of universal or contagious ideas that pass from person to person and warp and mutate as they go, yet together make up a culture of some sort (e.g. urban legends). This doesn't sound like the same thing so maybe I don't even know what I'm talking about. Well, I definitely don't know what I'm talking about, but this might be irrelevant to boot.

Cheryl said...

Or maybe it's one of those terms that's been misused enough that it now has another meaning. Like how people say "nuke" for "microwave," even though they're not technically nuking their leftover pizza.

Claire said...

Ah, done at last. And it's going to seem so pathetic compared to your thoughtful responses given how long it's taken me. Oh well, enjoy:

Claire said...

And here's the rest of that address:

or maybe it'll let me actually link it here.