Tough blogging day today--trying to deal with serious Work-Life Fit issues. (Hello @CaliYost—where are you when I need you???) September is a tricky time for a guy who's an orthodox Jew, father of three, and in publishing. This month is filled with holidays (all of which are on weekdays this year), the beginning of school (where Child One is starting a new school, Child Two is starting middle school in a new building, and Child Three is missing Child Two), and the September manuscript submissions insanity. I'll deal with these in reverse order.
For the past five years it has felt that the typical summer publishing exodus to beaches and woods had stopped. Editors and agents alike seemed to be concerned that if they left for a long weekend they'd come back to find themselves downsized. Everyone was at his or her desk, and I happily submitted manuscripts all summer and was able to close deals--even in August.
This year, starting in the middle of July, Out of Office messages started to appear. It was as if we were having rolling brownouts, where while offices didn't actually close, it was as if half of everyone was gone at any given time. As a result, I found myself hoarding my manuscripts, waiting for Labor Day, like I remembered from 20 years ago when I was on the buy side.
That hoarding meant, of course, that it was then vital, the moment folks returned, to begin emailing and calling my editor friends and saying things like “OK, before you have a hundred manuscripts in your pile…” and hoping one of my agent colleagues wasn’t on line 2. But there has been a great deal of good humor on all sides, although my author clients are certainly biting their nails in unison,
The other challenges are more logistical: How to get three kids settled and established in new academic situations, knowing that they will have exactly one full week of school between the first day and October 10. There’s an old joke about the fact that Jewish holidays are either “too early this year” or “too late this year” but are never actually on time (it has to do with lunar calendars and adding an occasional extra month in the Jewish calendar to kind of even things out. Otherwise, like Ramadan, it would travel the secular calendar and you’d end up with Passover where Chanukah ought to be and the kids would get confused.) Ultimately it will all be OK—everyone will have the right numbers of binders, our son will have located his locker, and middle child, freed from the lower school dress code, will have gone through her wardrobe for the first time. It’ll be just in time for Christmas vacation.
In the meantime, I’m going to have to think ahead for the next few weeks and stockpile my posts. I feel like we may be due for a Query Trends piece or two…