Promises and deadlines

Never promise what you can’t deliver.

I said I’d post a photo of me in Star Trek costume. And I’m looking for the picture. But it may take a while longer, because I think the photo is buried somewhere in this pile of stuff. Let’s just hope it’s not under any overdue bills, or a message from the fire department that my husband is trapped down a well. The pile has grown out of control while I worked on the first draft of my new novel.

Which, finally, I’ve finished. Right on deadline. To explain: The Imminent Deadline is the point in the writing cycle when I lock myself away with my computer, a thesaurus, and any legal stimulants I can lay my hands on. I regress socially. According to the people who live with me, anyhow. Once, I came out of my office and found that my children had taped a note to the door: “Warning – she eats her young.” Another time, when the deadline loomed my husband simply threw the kids in the car and headed to Disneyland.

This time I typed like a maniac until I knew my editor was about to leave the office for the day, and pushed Send. I thrust my fists in the air, thinking, Victory! Then I pulled my hands down, thinking, Holy crap, did I spell-check?

I gaped at the screen for a minute and realized it was too late to do anything about it. I shut down the stereo. I’d been listening to my deadline playlist: Rachmaninoff, Carmina Burana… okay, I lie. Foo Fighters and the 300 soundtrack. Which may explain why my heroine, a forensic psychiatrist who investigates whether victims have been murdered or have killed themselves, spends the final third of the novel shouting “This. Is. Suicide!” Need to edit that. Then I took off my writing tiara, picked up the empty coffee mugs and scattered boxes of Junior Mints, and stumbled out of the writing bunker into the fresh air. I looked up, saw a terrifying yellow ball in the sky, and ran back inside, shrieking, “It burns, it burns!” I caught my breath. And thought: Now, where’s that Star Trek photo?

So far I’ve found my wedding album and my son’s permanent record. And a takeout order my kids phoned in to the Chinese place, which I was probably supposed to pick up last week. But I’m not done yet.

15 comments on “Promises and deadlines

  1. C. S. Inman says:

    “This. Is. Suicide!”

    Hahaha!

  2. Bear says:

    ok, ok, we got it: you’re not going to show us the photo :)
    i am however really impressed you took the pain to write a novel just to have the excuse of the immininent deadline for not showing us that pic :)

  3. Bob Lock says:

    Tut tut, Bear, can’t you see what Meg is doing? It’s just an author’s ploy to keep us in suspense, all will come together in the end, I’m sure. See how she threw in a couple of back-stories about the wedding album and the Chinese takeaway? There’s a trilogy in this, I bet :P

  4. Bear says:

    @bob: see, that’s why i prefer short stories :)

  5. Meg Gardiner says:

    Bob, you’ve seen through my ploy. But the trilogy will end with a surprising twist…

  6. Bob Lock says:

    (But the trilogy will end with a surprising twist…) ah ha! Chubby Checker did it?

    Never mind… way before your time, Meg

  7. I said I’d post a photo of me in Star Trek costume. And I’m looking for the picture. But it may take a while longer, because I think the photo is buried somewhere in this pile of stuff. Let’s just hope it’s not under any overdue bills, or a message from the fire department that my husband is trapped down a well. The pile has grown out of control while I worked on the first draft of my new novel

  8. I said I’d post a photo of me in Star Trek costume. And I’m looking for the picture. But it may take a while longer, because I think the photo is buried somewhere in this pile of stuff. Let’s just hope it’s not under any overdue bills, or a message from the fire department that my husband is trapped down a well. The pile has grown out of control while I worked on the first draft of my new novel. thanks

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