Happily, none of the above! I've been traveling--on small planes, too. I got onto the latest one, quickly realized I was in row 8 of 9 (nine rows! That's it!), and promptly panicked. Behind me, a teen girl kept saying, "It's soooooo scary! Omigosh, I'm so scared! I feel NAUSEOUS!" This, of course, made me feel tons better. One of you had mentioned that you put on a brave face for your kids--it's always easier to be brave for others--and I thought of this as I looked out the window and reminded myself that the plane wasn't, in fact, anywhere near anything it could crash into--that is, the plane could seemingly drop ten feet any time it felt like it, because the ground was thousands of feet away.
I've brought along three paperbacks + the Kindle--I'm always amazed that it doesn't, like an overstuffed carry-on, bulge incredibly no matter how much I put on it. So, while the plane bumped and jerked and freaked out me, the teen behind me, and a probably even the stoic-looking Kindle reader beside me, I found this work very amusing:
Now, granted, I was on a plane, drinking non-organic apple juice out of a plastic cup, and had zero plans involving carbon-offsets or hybrid rentals while reading this. The voice is fun and upbeat; she's so earnest in her efforts--and she certainly isn't of the "We all must do this or the world will end tomorrow" variety. Very good.
But my favorite passage has to do with inviting her literary agent over to help her build a compost bin. And not from a kit, either--from her local Home Depot, which means many small pieces of wood and wire, hinges, handles and staple guns.
My instincts told me to search for the IKEA guide and Allen key but neither was to be found. I was just me, and these tools, and this mess. I poured myself a warm gin martini and called my agent.
Sam...is everything an agent should be--an ego-booster, social networker, shameless promoter, and a handyman. He likes to keep this aspect of his personality on the down-low, preferring that the only tool people see in his hands is a corkscrew, but when I explained my situation, he took pity.Now, in general, I would say that it's not a good idea to ask your agent to help you with your building projects.
"I'm staring at a pile of wood in my living room," I said. "It needs to become a compost bin by midnight. Will you come over?"
After a pause, I threw in some high-meets-low rhetoric: "It'll be fun--construction and cocktails!"
As a man with a busy social life, Sam probably wasn't thrilled about committing to this; however, as a hipster literary agent, he just couldn't resist the irony.
"I'll be there as soon as I get off work," he said.
That said, I certainly understand the temptatin. Bringing lumber on the subway simply isn't a one-person job. I did this once, years ago, when my roommate and I thought building a table from scratch was a good idea.
We were young, foolish, and IKEA-less (this was before one moved to Brooklyn), ran across the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (yes, that's a six-lane highway) to the local Home Depot, and dragged the wood home--over the freeway, up the twenty someodd (I exaggerate: it's more like eight or ten) flights of stairs at the 4th Ave/9th St stop, onto two subways, through our neighborhood, up our stairs--annoying many New Yorkers in the process.
But we got a custom table out of all of it, and I still think that anything you make yourself will be far more enjoyable, in the long run, than something you have delivered (as is possible in NYC: one can order everything from tables to fully-lit Christmas trees, ready to be plugged in) fully assembled.
Now, does this mean that, the longer you spend on finding an agent and editor, the more you'll appreciate it when it happens? I'm not sure.
But it sure beats vermiculture. Green or no, I'm sure even the most frustrating agent-finding process smells better than a group of mail-order worms feasting on your compost within your apartment (even if within a compost bin built with your agent's help). If I had a backyard...maybe. If I knew it'd turn into a book deal, as Vanessa Farquharson did...possibly. For now--no. Just no. I'd go through gallons of apple-cinnamon Febreeze a day. Though it smells delicious, it isn't cheap--or green, either.