Thursday, March 11, 2010
Make Your Wheel Squeaky
So if you're wondering why I haven't been blogging much (miss me?), just look at the mess the rains made in my first floor apartment.
Yes, I'm on the first floor of a two-story building. You'd think rain wouldn't be a problem for me. But I've had issues with leaks before. The gutters fill with mud over the years when my landlady-from-hell doesn't clean them, then the water runs in a sheet down the side of the building and seeps in between floors, peeing through bubbles in the paint onto my floor.
I warned my apartment manager it was happening again two weeks before the ceiling collapsed. A man came out looked at it, seemed to doubt it was the gutters, said he didn't have his tall ladder, but that he'd come back and deal with it.
He never dealt with it. Flash forward to - ceiling collapse. I was out of town in Newport Beach at the time, but my delightful cat caretaker called me, horrified at what the cats had done now.
Well, it was the rain, but it's fun to blame the cats. I imagine them in goggles weilding tiny blocks of plastic explosives. But I digress.
It took me over three hours to clean it up and the 6 by 8 hole in my ceiling was a horrific eyesore, full of spider webs and moths. Not to mention the overwhelming odor of dirty water, one of the few smells that truely grosses me out. (I'm not a person who grosses out easily - I can smash a huge, flying cockroach without blinking. But I have a horror of drains and the things that dwell in them. The dank, mildewy smell of dirty water evokes that more than anything.)
This happened on a Friday night. Did my landlord fix things up on Monday? No. Tuesday? No. All this time, I kept one eye on the weather and saw rain in the forecast, which meant not only more water drizzling down into my apartment, but the possibility of more ceiling collapsing.
So, I got squeaky.
This is not in my nature. I hate bothering people. I don't like to be a nag. I figure folks are decent and will do what they say they'll do. I should give them the benefit of the doubt.
But when people fail to do their job over and over, and you are the victim, it's time to be the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. I hated harassing my apartment manager, but I managed to get the phone number of the repair guy, got him to come over, and he fixed the gutters Wednesday, then dry walled up my ceiling on Thursday.
Rains hit like crazy on Saturday, but I was safe and dry.
Since this is a writing blog, I'll relate this back to writing and say - be persistent when you're trying to get published. Don't be a nag, like I had to be here, but don't let yourself give up. Keep squeaking along, sending your query letter out to agents. Keep pitching it at conferences (once it's fabulous and polished), and then persist in writing something new. Persist in believing in yourself, in learning your craft, in making your manuscript better. Don't let yourself by the lazy landlord. And don't let go of the dream of being published.