Thursday, January 10, 2008

Post Traumatic Deadline Stress Disorder

So the next book is done! Woohoo!! And in spite of the way we felt for the last couple of months, finishing What Doesn’t Kill You (which will be out in January ‘09) did not kill us!! It was, however, like having that G Force they talk about during space launches and insane rollercoaster rides, slam you to the wall. We are just five days past “The End” and still in the PTDSD (Post Traumatic Deadline Stress Disorder) phase—to which we have added, PTPSD (Post Traumatic Party Stress Disorder) because we didn’t have sense enough not to have a huge, blowout, Gotta Keep on Tryin’ Launch Party and book signing at one of our favorite restaurants on Monday—the same day we turned in the manuscript for the next book.

Which though not the way we planned it, is how it turned out. Originally we scheduled a week between ending one book and celebrating the other’s debut. But you may remember that we haven’t been doing so good with the planning thing lately. We worked on Thanksgiving because we PLANNED to take off Christmas. Ha! Then we worked on CHRISTMAS because we PLANNED to take off New Years Ha! And we worked New Years because we PLANNED to be done the next day. Ha! But the one thing you can’t plan is when the words come--even with a mean ol’ deadline cracking the whip. So we ended up a week late with the manuscript—and that’s how the two books collided.

Now this may not have been as stressful, anxiety-producing, nerve-wracking, inconvenient and insane-- if we were not also having a guy coming to make a web video of us on the very same day. “We want to do a video of you,” our publisher says several weeks ago. “Great!” we say. “It’ll be on simonsays.com (on Jan 23) and YouTube!” our publisher says. “Amazing!” we say. “We’d like to shoot the book signing, the party and we’d also like to get footage of you in your regular work environment,” the publisher says. “Perfect!” we say. BECAUSE we thought we’d have a week to clean up the office. In the last stages of the writing process it starts to resemble a landfill—the cumulative effect of months of “what lands on the floor stays on the floor” have become impossible to ignore and by the very end it’s pretty close to a toxic dump. We had no intentions of making it look “picture perfect” because as we’ve said before, when you see pictures of writers in pristine offices it’s gotta be fiction. But we didn’t want it to be a hazard either. So we end up with less than 24 hours to clean up 6 months worth of writing by-products and get ourselves spiffed up too. And while we might not have been in quite as bad a shape as the office—we still had a long, long road from flat to fluffy. Not only did we have to be clean—there was hair, nails, make up, two outfits each—well you know we couldn’t possibly wear the same thing for the “at work” segment as we did for the party. OK, well Donna could. Virginia could change clothes four times a day if allowed.

It was touch and go, but we made both the office and ourselves presentable. We had a great time with the videographer and a fantastic, stupendous signing and party (we’ll post pics in a few days—if our friends remember to send them to us—at the very least they’ll end up on the video and you know we’ll tell you when that’s up.) The show of support and love was genuinely overwhelming. A friend of Virginia’s said, “A person who receives so many hugs should live forever.”

But the next day, Tuesday, we were toast—soup—zombie-like. First challenge—remembering what day it was. Sounds easy? Not when your circuits are overloaded. Somehow we managed to get through the day without setting anything on fire, but speaking in complete sentences was a huge challenge –mainly because it’s hard to talk when you 1) can’t remember any words—what they mean or how to use them, and, 2) you can’t remember what you were going to say anyway. We tried to avoid all activities where we might inadvertently cause harm to others—like driving. “What does the red light stand for again?” Bad idea. Sleep is no refuge. There are psychedelic dreams—not entirely unpleasant, but really weird.

So we survived the day, and Tuesday night, retired to our separate rooms only to get up the next day and realize we’d left the patio slider open, (not unlocked—WIDE OPEN). Granted, it had no business being 66 degrees in New Jersey in January, but still, how did whichever one of us did it (because we don’t know) manage to close the drapes while ignoring the open door? Donna has recurring concerns about “the bad man” coming in. Virginia worries about skunks.

Luckily neither were interested in two brain-dead writers. Whew!

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 11:39 AM

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