Friday, August 29, 2008

Politics and mysteries--well, maybe they're the same

I am, as many Americans are, still consumed with politics. On the crest of the upbeat Democratic convention, we get the news of Senator McCain's choice of a running mate. To me, it's a strange choice, but maybe that's my outlook--Governor Palin is for everything I'm against. But it must be admitted that she has limited experience--that charge thrown so often against Barack Obama. One of my sons said to me today, "It's a mixed blessing. It may help us (Democrats) win, but if the Republicans win, this lady who know nothing about running a nation or international policy is heartbeat away from the presidency." He went on, to discuss, what's on all our minds--Senator McCain is not a spring chicken.
But political opinion and approval or disapproval aside, I'm puzzled by something: most Republicans I know don't want to talk politics. Some say, "Let's not go there"; some say, "I don't know enough about it" which makes me want to shout, "Learn!" I want to talk about it, not necessarily to convert, though I do feel a bit called upon to do that. But I want to know how people can be for McCain, what's their reasoning, what are they thinking? I wonder, and it's scary, if they're not thinking, if they're hearing what they want to hear, or just thinking "I'm a Republican" (or Democrat) and aligning themselves blindly. My good-looking neighbor (I throw that in in case he reads this) is the only one I know who will talk to me about, and I know he's not blindly Republican. Sometimes we get a bit testy, but we have good honest talks. In contrast, I think of the women who, angered that Hillary didn't win, have gone over to McCain's side. Do these women realize he's against abortion? Against most of the things Hillary fought for?
And then there's the mystery of writing mysteries. Sisters in Crime and its various sub-groups have such active listservs that it takes a good portion of my day to sort through the posts. But am I learning a lot. For one thing, I think I have been very naive about querying, thinking happily that my query would stand out from those other amateurs. Not at all true. I may have 60 books to my credit, but in writing mysteries and trying to sell them, I'm a real amateur. For instance, the agent who said he liked my manuscript but didn't love it? And I thought that was a serious line? Apparently it's a cliche blowoff. Agents get hundreds of queries a week and making yours stand out is a real challenge.
I joined a group doing an exercise in "blurbing" their books and the responses have been pretty critical but tremendously helpful. They've made me rethink the book, and interestingly one thing that echoed in the responses was also repeated by my mentor today: I'm trying too hard to fit the subplot in. I have rewritten so many times, but here I go again.
But not this weekend. I'm off to Frisco tomorrow to see Maddie and Edie (and their parents, of course). I'll think about rewriting next week.
I am still having terrible balance problems, and if anyone watched me, they'd either die laughing or call the cops. Today I could NOT get from my car into the grocery--it's those open spaces that get me. Give me a grocery cart to wheel in and I'm just fine. So I started, rounded the corner of the car next to mine, and froze. Had to go back, take a different route, but I finally made it. Such episodes put me back, I think, because they're depressing. I tell people about them--including readers of this blog--because I feel hiding them and fearing someone would find out would only make it worse. Maybe if I can laugh at it? I've gotten over this before, and I will again, but I'm ready any time. As Melinda said to me, I've got a lot going on right now, which probably accounts for it.

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