My Little Coyote Ugly

Over at Betsy Lerner’s blog, where I often am, the one and only Betsy asked about the one sentence we’d use to explain what we write. No, it’s not anywhere near the first time I’ve thought of this, been challenged to do it – there was a time I tried using one sentence more or less even within the query itself…before being advised that it was too loaded and difficult to understand (you kids just don’t know what you want, do ya) – so it must have been because it’s Betsy that I spontaneously thought of something at 2-something in the am.

“Two intelligent, talented and emotionally crippled Black women try to forge a relationship outside of their art despite the fact that one is the product of the other’s rape.”

I was looking for ecstatic. I guess rabid works?

Now that my thalamus hasn’t preemptively shut down in preparation for the sleep that would not come for at least an hour, I will acknowledge that it’s not space-mazing. (Read: it was last night, let me tell you.) Also, I’d insert the element of that forging attempt not being entirely without outside motivation.

“After being confronted with their decades-long estrangement, two talented and emotionally crippled Black women attempt to forge a relationship outside of their art, despite the fact that one is the product of the other’s rape.”

Hm. Well, see, I don’t feel like the word “talented” really encapsulates the perception of Demetra’s success or Cora’s promise. Maybe I should’ve just enjoyed feeling proud of myself last night and not brought it into the light of day. Probably that.

~

LATER: I totally forgot to explain my other motivation for doing that – since I got all discouraged by the coyote ugliness and all. Day before yesterday, I was asked about my writing and I did what I typically do. I heaved a huge sigh and prepared myself for a long conversation that nobody wants to have. I hate that question. Even when it’s more than mere politeness. It’s why I don’t talk about my work in mixed company. I assume the person isn’t invested in the question and I don’t wanna get invested in the answer and I probably make them regret it before I even answer with all my huffing and puffing. Like imagine asking someone – with genuine curiosity – what they’re studying. Imagine them rolling their eyes and exhaling forcefully. Right. I’m working on that. One sentence should be helpful. As long as my skin doesn’t crawl away when I consider how misleading and incomplete my answer. That’s my problem. I want to answer it completely and thoroughly or I don’t want you to ask. 🙂 See? That’s all!

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15 thoughts on “My Little Coyote Ugly

  1. Per “Later” – Technically you would need like 5-6 one liners for all of the things you are working on. If you wanted to go that route.

    Personally, I can’t wait till you get big so you can respond flippantly in a glamorous fashion: “I could tell you what I’m working on right now, but it would blow your mind and I don’t want to commit murder today.”

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  2. I know you aren’t looking for a critque but I will dare to offer one.

    Make it less wordy. Lose “AFTER BEING” and “DESPITE THE FACT THAT”. move “one is the product of the other’s rape” from the end, where it falls flat. “emotionally crippled” is redundant. (their decades-long estrangement speaks volumes by itself.)

    you have: “After being confronted with their decades-long estrangement, two talented and emotionally crippled Black women attempt to forge a relationship outside of their art, despite the fact that one is the product of the other’s rape.”

    Edited:

    “confronted with their decades-long estrangement, two talented Black women–one the product of the other’s rape–attempt to forge a relationship outside of their art.”

    from the little I read on this site, I do agree “talented” isn’t the right description.

    Also
    check Nathan’s blog. he has a contest every monday. plus some pitching advice.
    read here
    http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/05/one-sentence-one-paragraph-and-two.html

    and here:
    http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/05/you-tell-me-what-is-funniest-book-of.html

    and here:
    http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/05/inaugural-page-critique.html

    I know you don’t follow Nathan but he’s had some interesting posts lately.

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      • It is only because I am very much a gentleman that I didn’t launch into a thousand-word screed against Bransford, Reid, and Gardener when Betsy mentioned them on her blog. Well, I don’t actually know Reid, but the other two give me hives.

        Anyway. Wanted to drop a comment here, because nitpicking your sentence at Betsy’s seemed a bit questionable. Maybe you can change one of the characters into a mermaid?

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  3. Hmm… it would be helpful if people stop asking questions they don’t want answered.

    i.e.

    Friend: what’s your story about?

    Me: (option 1) Well…[insert long description that cannot do work justice anyway while said friend struggles not to yawn].

    Me: (option 2) You don’t really want to know.

    See? There’s never a good answer.

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    • Exactly. Also, I should become more calculated. I think from now on, I’ll put other people in the same position regardless of my interest. Like a pregnant woman. I’ll ask her how she plans to handle motherhood and then I’ll get this glazed look on my face while she fumbles around for an answer, killing me softly with her overwhelmedness.

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