WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Monday mélange

We’re lucking out so far this fire season. Last year, you might recall, a wildfire was raging too close for comfort and we actually had to start thinking about what we’d do if we had to evacuate. Scary stuff. Nothing so severe yet this year, knock wood, though there was a spot fire not too far away last month, and we witnessed the Cal Fire choppers dropping down into the Middle Fork of the American River to scoop up giant buckets of water. Surreal.

We had our niece and her friend up for the weekend last week, sent them on a rafting trip, and hung out at the pool quite a bit. Her friend is now my best friend. Why? She said my tune “Turnkey Boyfriend” should go viral!

My mom’s vision continues to improve every day, and that’s a wonderful thing. She went back for a follow-up visit recently though, and asked the doc for advice on what to do about the eye in which the cataract operation didn’t turn out well. Instead of reassuring her, he said, “I don’t know anything about that eye.” Just one of the many things wrong with out health care system. He didn’t want to comment on another doctor’s work for fear of igniting a malpractice claim, I guess.

I keep waiting for the shortlist of the St. Francis College Literary Prize to be announced. It’s a $50,000 prize for an author’s third to fifth book, and I entered Town Father on the advice of friend-of-the-blog Susan Toy. The shortlist was supposed to come out on August 17th, but so far it’s radio silence. Heck, I know the odds are against me, but I’d just as soon get the news now instead of having to wait for disappointment. I’ve already spent much of that fifty grand. 💸

And, by the way, the agent search continues without much reason for optimism. I’ve learned so far that agents are gatekeeping like hell these days, eagerly keeping the riffraff out of the limelight. I’ve only had the one request for a partial manuscript so far, which is below the typical percentage. Should have had three or four by now. The ones who bother rejecting (just seven out of thirty so far) do it with scant notes that always say something along the lines of “this isn’t something I could successfully represent right now.” From which I can’t draw any conclusions other than it’s hard for someone to judge a book accurately by its first ten pages.

That said, inspired by Jenny Offill’s novel, Dept. of Speculation, I’m about twenty percent into a new project that could give me a leg up next year when I go through this whole thing all over again. I’m trying hard to follow my own advice from “Gatecrash,” i.e., push the envelope, try something different, screw formulas and expectations, and write something readers haven’t seen before.

That should keep me out of trouble for a while.

[Image via https://pixabay.com/en/users/monicore-1499084/ at Pixabay.]

8 comments on “Monday mélange

  1. Rich Relkin
    August 21, 2017

    Hi Kevin,
    Sorry you didn’t make the short list…

    http://www.sfc.edu/news-feed/~post/sfc-announces-50000-literary-prize-short-list-20170815

    Thanks,
    Rich

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 21, 2017

      ‘Preciate it, Rich. For some reason the news release never showed up on my Google searches.

  2. kingmidget
    August 21, 2017

    When I had my detached retina, I went through a process of torture to repair it that left me with a cataract and macular pucker in the eye. I became convinced that the retina specialist who did the repair overdid the thing. He left Kaiser and I asked his replacement whether my thought on the over-repair was correct. I got such a vague response, I’m even more convinced I was right. It’s a shame doctors can’t be honest with their patients.

    Good luck with Town Father and the literary contest.

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 21, 2017

      I read the informed consent sheet for my mom’s surgery, and they were careful to say that the procedure “is not an exact science.” Talk about covering your ass!

      BTW, somebody from the contest just commented that I didn’t make the shortlist. Oh well. Onward …

      • kingmidget
        August 21, 2017

        Sorry to hear that — the contest that is. The consent form … blech!

  3. Phillip McCollum
    August 21, 2017

    I love your willingness to continually experiment. Sorry to hear about the contest. Hmm, I wonder how soon it will be before you can purchase “fans” composed entirely of AI bots programmed to love and uniquely review a certain style of writing…

  4. Audrey Driscoll
    August 21, 2017

    Good to hear about the new project. Never give up!

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