nurk

One day Deb goes to a romance writer’s convention, where at a high-powered dinner of authors and agents, she tells an amusing anecdote about her Wacky Artist Friend.

She is sitting next to a very nice woman* named Helen, who, after the laughter dies down, says something in passing like “Artist, eh? Does she do graphic novels? That’s what everybody’s asking me for right now…”

Deb wracks her brain, remembers something about a wombat, and says “I think so. I’ll send you a link to her website when I get home…”

A couple of weeks go by, and Deb calls me up as I am in the middle of packing the house to move and says “Ursula, do you want a literary agent?”

I said–-and I know I said this, because Deb has never once let me forget it–-”Huh. Sure. What the hell.”

Deb facepalmed on the other end of the line and said “Ursula, when somebody offers to get you an agent, you do not say “Sure, what the hell.” You say “Wow, Deb, that would be amazing! Thank you so much!”

I repeated this dutifully, and then asked “What do I do with an agent?”

“We’ll worry about that later,” said Deb. “You do that webcomic, right? Have you won any awards?”

It had. I named them.

“Anything else?”

I wracked my brain and said “Uh…it was mentioned in the New York Times?”

There was the sound of another facepalm. “The New York–-you never told me–-that’s huge!”

“So I’m told,” I said, another line which Deb (who tells this story given any shred of opportunity, and has much better delivery) has never, ever let me forget. (Look, I was trying to pack at the time!)

“I’ll put all this in the e-mail,” she said, and hung up.

I thought “Huh,” and went back to work and thought no more about it, because what was I going to do with a literary agent? What did they do, anyway? Also, as I said, I was packing, and you have to wrap each of the plates in newspaper, and you KNOW what that’s like…

A few weeks slid by, we moved into the new house, we did a lot of re-painting and one day I got an e-mail from Helen saying “I have been to your website, I love your art, the little descriptions are so zany, can I call you, do you have an agent?”

I sent back a polite e-mail saying “I’ve never even spoken to an agent, but here’s my number.”

About thirty seconds later, the phone rang, and when I picked it up, she said “You are now speaking to an agent.”

“I will update my resume!” I said brightly.

There was a brief pause while she down-shifted her expectations of my intelligence.

Then she explained that she really really liked the art, she particularly liked the weird little stories, they were vastly entertaining and quirky, and had I written anything longer and could I send her samples?

So we went back and forth for a bit, and I sent her Digger and I think Irrational Fears. She found them interesting. She would call while flipping through my gallery and throw out random questions involving what we could do with this or that idea in the way of turning it into a book of some sort.

This was all very flattering, and it was an exciting couple of conversations, but I had no real idea what to make of it.

She was particularly interested, however, in the painting I did ages ago of Nurk the shrew, though, and I’d said I was going to write a children’s book about it someday–-had I?

Well, no.

Could I?

“Sure!” I said, with the optimism of the completely ignorant. I still had no idea what you DID with an agent, but this woman seemed extremely excited and she had called THREE TIMES and had a very forceful personality and was also extremely complimentary and I hated to disappoint her, since apparently there was a chance she could be my agent, and I had picked up from Deb that this was probably a good thing even though I still wasn’t real clear on what they did.

“How soon can you have it?” she asked.

I panicked. Um. What was a good time frame? How long did it take to write a book? Oh god, what if I asked for too long and she got bored or got hit by a truck or I proved that I was some kind of irrational prima donna with no work ethic?

“Can I have six weeks?” I asked finally.

There was an unidentifiable noise from the other end of the phone, and she said, very generously, “Take eight.”

I wrote it in six weeks, and then spent the next week having neurotic fits about it, and then finally sent it out at seven weeks, in case she wanted to make any revisions, because that’s what you do in the illustration biz, which I was used to–-optimally you send it in before the actual deadline so that the revisions also come in under deadline. (This was really not that super-human a feat–-Nurk is a VERY short book. I wouldn’t try to do a regular novel in that time frame. Probably. Well, if Helen asked, I might try.)

Then I fretted for about two days, and she called say that it was great and she was very happy with it and would send it out and I plucked up my courage and asked “Does this mean you’re my agent now?”

There was a splutter on the other end of the line and she said “Yes! Of course I’m–-WHY? Did another agent contact you?” (I think that’s the tone she uses on recalcitrant editors. It is alarming.)

“No–-no, I’m just–-I wasn’t sure…I mean…is this how it works?”

There was another pause while Helen again down-shifted her notion of my intelligence. “Yes,” she said. “I am your agent. If anybody asks if you have representation, you send them to me. I can write up a contract if you want, although generally I don’t, since we both know it.”

“Cool!” I said.

…and that is how I got an agent, without having actually written a book

i was thinking about this episode a lot and

i have a lot of feelings about dorky (eventually) popular village hero blonde boys and awkward dark haired girls who sit next to each other

bonus ibiki: 

Meet Nurkus Aurelious Alonzo Electron Maximilian Shrew…but you can call him Nurk. He’s the hero of the project I’ve been sort of kicking around—the story of a small insectivore, armed only with native shrewy wit, a cheese sandwich, and an extra pair of socks, who travels in his amazing Snailship (really more of a snailboat) through strange lands in search of Adventure. This particular view is a chunk of a larger piece in progress, as Nurk will be looking at the strange denizens of the Land Where Fish Grow On Trees, but I wanted to actually paint him before I got too elaborate. Now, to answer the question that some of you who trust me to be dark and depraved may be asking—why all this cute stuff recently? Well, it’s simple. I recently acquired a brother. Named Max. There’s 22 years between us, and my parents were VERY surprised. (It’s great for me. I’m now out of the reproductive loop—potential kidney donor, will visit me in nursing home, and I never touch a diaper. Plus I get to buy him neat stuff. Sort of like instant grandkid!) Anyway I’ve been thinking about trying to do a children book, now that I actually have an audience…of course, by the time it saw print, he’ll be shaving, but still. - Ursula Vernon

Where Nurk started to where we are now.

From the Journal of Surka Aurelia Maxine Shrew

excerpts from Nurk by Ursula Vernon

ThIS is ThE jouRNaL oF SUrKa AUrelia MAXIne ShREw. i aM kEepiNG iT to REcorD mY trAVelS, as I hAve detErmiNeD tO seT oUt on mY oWn AnD sEEk AdVentURe. My paRenTS hAve told mE To waiT uNtil I Am oLDer, buT if I kEeP wAitInG uNtIl I aM oLDeR, oNe daY i’LL discoVeR thAt I aM olD, aNd I wiLl STiLL nOt hAVe HaD aN AdVenTuRe!

I hAve Had mANy dReaMS, bUt I haVe dECideD tO stoP. MY siSter aLso dReAMeD of adVEnTURe, aNd eVeNTuaLLy sHe hAd so maNy dReaMs ThAt sHe Didn’T waNt to haVe a ReaL aDVentuRe, FoR feAr oF spoiLiNG ThEm. ThiS wiLL nOT hApPeN tO mE!

I dO noT knoW iF I wilL suRvive, as aDveNtuRes aRe peRiLoUs ThinGs, aNd if I aM deVouREd By hUngRY cRocoDiles or maDdeNed eGgpLaNtS, theY wiLl pRoBably nOt ALLow mE tiME to reCOrd a Last enTRy. In ThE cASe thAt ThiS JouRnaL is loCateD in thE deN oF a maDdeNEd egGPlanT oR thE SToMacH oF a cROcoDile, pLeAsE RetUrn to my FaMiLy at thE WhiSTlinG WiLLow. i hAvE
(This section was completely illegible and looked as if Surka had been trying to kill a flea with the tip of the pen)
mE luCk.

AdVeNturE aWAitS!

Keep reading

ThEre Are FifTeeN oF Us, WeLL aRmEd fOR AnYThinG ThAt WiLl coME oUR wAy. i hAvE a NeW sWORd aNd sHieLd AnD THe FinEst ArmoR, mAde FoR mE bY ThE bATtLehAmSTeR bLacksMiThS. gRoHgER SQuEAkinGdeATh kEePs cHeWinG oN His sHiELd. ThE oTheR hAmSteRs ThiNk hE iS a beRSerKEr bUt I ThiNk hE iS jUsT wEiRD AnD NEeDs tO bAthE mORe oFTeN.
—  From the Journal of Surka Aurelia Maxine Shrew

It was much harder than he expected to leave the little ship behind.

Nurk steeled himself, and set out.

He picked his way across the beach to the tree of fish, and looked up at them for a few minutes.

“Why are you in a tree?” he asked finally. “Shouldn’t you live in the water?”

The salmon made a shuddery, juddery motion with its jaw. Nurk jumped backwards, and realized after a moment that it was a fishy laugh.

“WE.”
“AREN’T.”
“RIPE.”
“YET.”

When he got home, Nurk thought, he was going to tell Aunt Wilhelmina that she didn’t know the half of it.

—  'Nurk', by Ursula Vernon
iyi ki.

26 haziran bir persembe gunu dunyaya gozlerimi acmisim mesela..

babam halı sahada mac yaparken, maci birakip dogumuma gitmis bir de üstüne..

cok ugrastırmamısım, sabaha karsı 04.00 sularında dünyaya gelmisim iste, üstünden iki düzineden fazla sene gecmis birde..

bugun benim dogum günüm, kimisi icin iyi ki varım kimisi icin bilmiyorum.

"iyi ki"lerimiz eksik olmasın.

neyse,

"you’re holding on for life
holding on for life, love
holding on for life..”

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