Writing left handed

T Minus 3 Days

It is Tuesday morning and I am freaking out.  Why?  Well, for starters I am finally going to quit my day job.  I gave Head Boss my two weeks notice yesterday and although I wrote a polite little note hinting at my desire to take a “leave of absence,” I intend to be absent for a while.  Forever, if possible. 

I wish I could say that the circumstances of my life have changed—so much that I can actually afford to quit my day job—but the simple truth is I’m returning to London at the end of the month.  I’ll be gone for three weeks, attending the needs of my alter ego (who is presenting her very first academic paper at the Society of Dance History Scholars conference in July) and the only way to get three weeks off from The Shop is to have a baby.

I should have started planning earlier—nine months earlier, to be precise.  If I had gotten myself impregnated, I could have taken three weeks off, hopped across the pond and popped out a charming little anchor baby while in the midst of delivering my PowerPoint on percussive dance at the University of Surrey(although my luck, the kid would be born in international air space). 

Those of you who’ve been willing victims of my previous blogs know that I’ve been trying to marry a Brit since the tender young age of nineteen.  And it hasn’t happened.  So I’ve gone the student visa route instead, but the problem with student visas is that they expire eventually.  An anchor baby, therefore, seems like a much safer bet (and seeing as The Shop lost power again on Saturday, I could have arranged to get knocked up on the spot; my co-workers could have used their employee discounts to buy me Necessary Things from the Baby Shower Aisle such as the beribboned, rattle-shaped, ugly-as-sin-favors we sell; all things considered, it would have been quite convenient, really— certainly more convenient than saving £3,000 for a Post-Study Work Visa).

But I digress.  The real reason I’m freaking out is because Friday marks the start of the Philadelphia Writers Conference.  This means that on Friday night, I’m going to have to get up in front of 200 people and read a chapter of my manuscript.

That is, I’ll have to get up and read a chapter of my manuscript if I haven’t had a heart attack by the time Friday night’s Manuscript Rap rolls around.  And given that I am meeting with a literary agent on Friday afternoon, the odds of my having a heart attack are very good—very good indeed. 

Four agents are sending representatives to the PWC, and I’ve done my homework.  I’ve scoured their websites, I’ve scrutinized their lists of clients and I’ve emptied (and I do mean emptied) the shelves of the Publishing-Your-Novel section in the public library.  After selecting my target (and my most convincing bright young thing outfit) I scheduled a three hour session with a professional salesman to construct my pitch (this salesman happens to be my younger brother and seeing as we drove down to Hooper’s Island in his car, he had no choice but to listen).

But this doesn’t change the fact that I will have only five minutes to make my case.  Five minutes, in which to convince some frazzled, harried and travel weary New York agent that mine, amongst 200 conference attendees, is a name she won’t want to forget.

Fortunately, I have a secret weapon: a new bag. 

The moment I laid eyes on the bag— a beautiful, oversized, work of red leather genius—I knew: this was it.  I don’t have to explain the sheer necessity of proper accessories (and undergarments) when it comes to building a convincing façade of self confidence (at least I didn’t have to explain this to my mother; my dad, on the other hand, pointed out that I already own two bags.  Two leather bags.  Two red leather bags to precise—but this one is different).

You know how shoeboxes usually have product names stamped on them like, “The Zena (Size 6.5),” “The Cocktail (Size 8),” or “Sashay (Size 9.5)?”  And how the jeans at Old Navy are called things like, “The Flirt,” “The Boyfriend” and “The Diva?”  Well, this bag was called “The Authoress.” 

Actually, it was called nothing of the sort.  It was called “50% off plus another 15% discount taken at the register.”  But it will do the trick.  It has to.  Because another six months at Reggie #1 will probably kill me.

16 Responses to “T Minus 3 Days”

  1. Jill

    Break a leg, Kat, two legs even. You’ll be great. You Are Great.

  2. Digger

    You totally rock. Wear The Boots (really, they are Teh Awesome). Take a deep breath, center yourself, and Smile. Be your genuine smart, funny, writer self. I’m sure the agent hears mountains of bullshit all the time. Also don’t forget that you’re also interviewing THEM. 🙂 Don’t forget your business card/calling card/whatever the hell writers call their cards.

    I’ll be rooting for you!

    And WOOT EnglandConferencePaper!

    • Kat Richter

      THANKS! Opted for my red cuban heels instead of the boots (being that it’s June and all…) but there’s another conference coming up in November so I think the weather will be boot worthy then!

  3. Casey

    I’m certain things will go well. I didn’t know it would be so many people, but I still think you’ll be fine.

    And I can’t believe you’re leaving your day job. WOW

  4. Mary Lynn

    You go, girl! (And let me read the Dance History paper, please! Also the novel, of course — but I’ll pay for that one when it comes out. . . .

  5. chauffeur

    You will be amazing at the conference, BTW, nice hand bag, And while waiting for publishing, a position some where NoWa, (North of Washington Ave.)
    Brake a finger manana.

  6. The HR Girl

    Thinking of you since it is now Friday! Wishing you all the best!!! 😀

  7. Jennifer Corrick

    Hi Kat,

    I did love your bag–I forgot to tell you that. I love your blog too. It was so nice to meet you at the conference. Let me know when your book gets published!


    • Kat Richter

      It was great! I’ll leave you to read the next post for full details, but in the meantime, I hear your daughters are giving you a hard time about reading blogs while you’re supposed to be “working from home” haha 🙂

    • Kat Richter

      I know! We’ll have to wave mid air! I’ll do the Shim Sham exactly halfway across the Atlantic in your honor 🙂 Honour, I mean- lol. I’ll miss you!


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