Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gifts, X-mas and Otherwise

I spent yesterday looking for one of these for you-know-who for Christmas. It's time. She hasn't asked for one, probably because she doesn't spend any time in any toy stores (thank heavens) and therefore doesn't know that you can buy these. In her mind, they exist only at school. I think she's going to love it and for the first time in a long time, I'm excited about the holiday.

We're at that stage for the holidays where the kids have actual wants. They want things. Before, any toy would do, really. As long as you had to rip paper off of it beforehand, as long as it had been sitting under the tree taunting them with mystery, as long as it was a toy, they loved it. Now...

Now we're in a new world. Garret wants a certain electronic chip to go into the video game he got for his birthday. And guess what? They're sold out. And by they, I mean everybody. You ask for some specific DS game and the clerks at Best Buy and Toys 'R Us and Target just smirk at you. And I'm thinking: Yeah, I know. It's Christmas and I'm a middle aged lady who just crawled out from under a rock. Must there be disdain? Can't there be a shred of sympathy?

I don't quite know what I'm going to do.

I wasn't alone. Many, many women like me, and some older, were on cell phones shouting at some other party on the other end, shouting out game titles and waiting hopefully for some sort of affirmation that this would be okay. I have no idea who might have been on the other end of these calls. People my age and older were running up and down the aisles in the middle of a work day, grabbing up every Wii game imaginable, and it's possible that some of these purchases weren't strictly for the kids. People seem to be holing up for the winter and the long economic winter ahead. Stay at home, they must be thinking, play video games. What else is there to do? The line at Best Buy was at least 40 people long. It's possible that Wii sales are what's propping up the economy right now.

I took enormous, if short-lived, satisfaction in walking empty-handed past that long line and out into the bracing December weather. I went home, wondering what to do about this gift thing, and found what at the front door? A different sort of gift. It was an overnight package tucked into the screen door. And yet it was a little miracle all its own. The editor had returned our manuscript with her edits and instructions to resubmit the edited manuscript as soon as possible, by mid-January. I had never printed out the pages before, so this was my first chance to look at it as a whole piece of writing. It came with the customary letter, saying that we done good, and then listing in bullet form the changes she's requesting. The copy edits so far are light, and the requested changes pretty doable. No major shuffling. We need to turn it around in a month, at which point most of the work on this will be done, at least from my standpoint. 

A year ago at this time, we didn't even have a book proposal. Now we have a book.

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