Monday, August 31, 2009

The Hope Tank

So, Laura and I have come up with an entirely new dialect since we've been on submission. This is bound to happen when you spend approximately 3-4 hours a day (I really wish I was exaggerating here, but I am not) discussing whether or not your book will be published. The cornerstone of this new (and pathetic) language is the Hope Tank.

Here's the technical definition for Hope Tank:

Pronunciation: \ˈhōp\ˈtaŋk\
Function: noun
Etymology: LiLa's fictional language, origins in Love Tank, from The Five Love Languages, which Laura had to read for pre-marriage counseling . She loved it and tried to convince everyone to read the book. No one listened.
Date: Summer 2009
dialect : a figurative receptacle for the holding or storing of hopes and dreams, typically as they relate to getting a debut novel published in horrendous market conditions. ex. The Hope Tank is almost completely empty since we didn't go to auction after being on submission for 24 hours.

Hope Tank levels are typically very cyclical. Every Sunday evening Laura and I have a marathon discussion about what we may or may not hear in the upcoming week. We discuss everything from the chances that Major Agent has already sold the book and forgot to tell us, to the possibility of receiving an awkward e-mail from Major Agent saying simply, "it's over."

Typically, these Sunday night conversations result in a full Hope Tank. This may sound like a good thing, but really, it isn't. When the Hope Tank levels are full, every time your phone rings, you jump a mile and you almost always ignore your children in favor of refreshing stat counter logs. So LiLa with a full hope tank is bad news for friends, children and all living relatives. We're just not much fun to be around.

Around Wednesday, the Hope Tank typically springs a leak. Things get really painful when our hope is slowly leached out of the tank like the sand in the hour glass on Days of Our Lives. When we start losing hope, we get bitchy. We screen all of our calls and rarely say more than two words to our husbands. Not pretty. Perhaps this is where The Five Love Languages book would come in handy.

By Friday, the Hope Tank is completely empty. Now you might think this is a bad thing, but it's really not so bad. Usually by Friday or Saturday we've convinced ourselves that this book will never, ever sell under any circumstances, so we'd better get our asses in gear and start writing a better book. An empty Hope Tank = productivity. Of course the husbands and kids still miss out because usually we're chained to our computers writing during this stage in the process. Their poor Love Tanks are hovering around empty. But, not to worry, we'll fill them back up. Eventually.

This week, I'm determined to keep my Hope Tank on "E". That's right. I've forbidden Laura from giving me any pep talks or discussing any encouraging horoscopes or psychic dreams. I'm convinced that an empty Hope Tank = a happier Lisa. But Laura is sneaky. Just look at our Skype convo from Sunday:

[8/30/09 2:34:47 PM] Laura: i think it's going to be a good week
[8/30/09 2:34:50 PM] Lisa: you do?
[8/30/09 2:34:51 PM] Lisa: oh god, don't do this
[8/30/09 2:34:54 PM] Laura: the book is SO good
[8/30/09 2:34:55 PM] Lisa: you promised not to do this
[8/30/09 2:34:57 PM] Lisa: you bitch
[8/30/09 2:34:57 PM] Laura: someone's going to fall in love, how could they not?
[8/30/09 2:35:02 PM] Laura: haha
[8/30/09 2:35:02 PM] Lisa: don't fill up my %$&*(&^ hope tank
[8/30/09 2:35:12 PM] Laura: oh mine is full baby, over flowing--i can't help it
[8/30/09 2:35:15 PM] Laura: i'm spreading the hope
[8/30/09 2:35:16 PM] Lisa: i hate you

Do you see how she lures me in? Do you hear her maniacal laughter? Yeah, yeah, my hope tank is full.

Damn it.


Tess said...

This post makes me laugh and cry at the same time .. too real, too real. And I relate to it entirely too much.

storyqueen said...

Okay, I've not read your book, but after reading your blog....seriously dudes, how could it NOT be awesome?

It's going to be a great week.

(Adding to the Hope Tank....sorry, couldn't help it.)

Good Luck!


Abby Annis said...

Hilarious!! It's good to know the neurotic behavior only gets worse after getting an agent. ;)

Loretta Nyhan said...

Any agent reading this post will jump at the chance to work with you guys (and that's not filling your hope tank, just putting in a few bucks worth).

confused homemaker said...

It's hard not to freak out,but try to keep the hope up (even if it requires a drink or two). This coming from a person who is racked with fears of failure.

Anonymous said...

haha!! This is funny! Hope Tank--sounds like some familiar bickering of my own!!

Did you girls see the blog award I gave on my blog? I wrote the comment on your last post but there was like 20 some comments!!!

It's cause you two are so damn popular!!! =D Love it!

Weronika Janczuk said...

I adore you two and I'm sitting here laughing and crying and crossing my fingers that we can all hear some good news soon.

Christina Lee said...

you guys are like yin and yang, good cop and bad cop- you need each other to balance out :):) well I for one still have my fingers crossed for you. Because you are FABULOUS!!!Such a GREAT post b/c it applies to other situations too (like hoping for "the call"-the first one I mean, from a real agent):)


I love your humor, your honesty, and all that is LiLa in general. Keep the Hope Tank full. If it doesn't happen this week, there's always the next. And during the annoying waiting period, write some more awesome stuff, damnit! You girls will sell your stuff. The world will not be complete until it is introduced to Team LiLa: superpowered sisters with witty funnybones.


Kimberly Derting said...

You guys are brilliant, and, as always, this was hilarious!

Corey Schwartz said...

I'm with Storyqueen. How could your book not be GREAT?

But your poor kids. they get about ten good minutes on Thursday mornings :)

Loretta Nyhan said...

Oooops, I meant "editor".

Yeah, it's the stress.

Tana said...

My hope tank runs along the same weekly pattern. I have the most hope on Tuesday, every other day is simply a means to Friday, and friday never brings any news. *sigh*

Realm Lovejoy said...

Oh, Lisa and Laura! You both crack me up. Loved the post! My Hope Tank? I think it's half full...better than saying half empty, right? :)

Rebecca Knight said...

Don't worry, Lisa! You have a better chance of being stampeded by waterbuffaloes than being published! Does that help? :D

Okay, I'm glad it didn't, because I'm totally lying.

I'm bad at depleting hope because I believe in you guys, and can't wait to hold your book in my hands!! However, I get why it's horrible to have your HT on full.

Maybe you can turn the Hope into productivity by thinking "Once we get published, we'll need something else ready to go! Since that will be any day now, we better get crackin!" Eh? Eh? :D

K. M. Walton said...

It's pretty cool you have each other...not just as sisters, but fellow matter how maniacal :)

Funny thing, my Word Verification is doodi - and I'm serious.

Danyelle L. said...


If you girls ever get the time, you should try your hand at the dictionary. I'd bet you'd get far more readers than Webster!

You can do this--er, wait. Empty Hope Tank. Uh. Surely the book won't sell more than 1.5 trillion copies, entertain twice that many people, or cause editors to suffer nervous breakdowns when they've realized their folly. Um. I'm kind of out of ideas, but shall be thinking EHT thoughts in your general direction. :p

Sherrie Petersen said...

I'm thinking that in addition to writing books, you guys should star in your own Seinfeld type show about people who write books. Seriously! It would be hilarious! So instead of checking stat counter, you could be creating your own YouTube sensation (while actually checking stat counter because, hey, it's part of the show!) You never know...

Hardygirl said...

YES! Sherrie! There should totally be a show . . . I mean, the rest of the world would get it, right? Or is this just our kooky little writer subculture that thinks this is hilarious??


Elana Johnson said...

Hope tank. I like that. Mine fluctuates just as much as yours. Hang in there!

Katie Anderson said...

I would seriously buy a book of your blog posts.

just sayin'...

I agree that any agent or editor that is lucky enough to find your blog will sign you :-) and your adorable commenters of course.

Jill Kemerer said...

Ha! Ha! I love the Five Love Languages book, so I'm extra happy at your rendition of the Hope Tank. I totally relate!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

I just LOVE you guys and want to add hope to your hope tank bc the awesomeness emanating from you two is beyond anything!

lisa and laura said...

Tess - Join us! Fill your hope tank and do nothing but stare at your cell phone all day!!!

Shelley - Laura has a total cyber crush on you and we both think you're hilarious. I'm a little annoyed with you for adding to the hope tank, but I guess I can forgive you...just this once.

Abby - And I'm sure we'll find something even more crazy and neurotic to do even after we've been published. The fun never ends over here!

Loretta - I don't know...our wackiness might scare some editors off. It will definitely take a special person to deal with our particular brand of crazy.

CH - What is it about fear of failure? Or even worse fear of getting my hopes up? I need to read The Secret and do some visualization exercises.

Sara - Thank you for the award!! We're so flattered! Now our hope tank really is overflowing.

Weronika - Thank you!

Christina - Oh yes, we had a hope tank back in our querying days too. It's like the gift that keeps on giving.

Jess - The feeling is mutual my dear. Any chance you have plans to start up your own publishing imprint anytime soon?

Kimberly - We heart you. In fact, I heart you even more now that I know you're a fellow Stephen King fan. I'm so geeked out over The Dome I can't stand it.

Corey - But those 10 minutes are amazing! Totally fills up their love tank for the week. Don't call child services, k?

T. Anne - Does anyone ever get good news on a Friday? I think not.

Realm - A fellow optimist! We love it.

Rebecca - You're worst than Laura! But I sort of love you for it.

KM - It is great having each other to talk to about all things writerly. I honestly think we'd both be divorced otherwise.

Danyelle - You're worst than Rebecca! But yeah, we still sort of love it. We're gluttons for punishment I guess.

Sherrie - Now we're talking! Although I think a reality show about us would be insanely boring. Would you really want to watch someone screw around on the internet all day?

SF - I'm still waiting for Southern Belle Bootcamp to hit the airwaves. That would be a surefire hit.

EJ - Hope Tanks are rather fickle, aren't they? One of these days we'll figure out a way to keep them full er...empty? Not sure which is better?

Katie - Exactly! That's the goal right? We all get book deals because we all rock! Love it! Fill that hope tank dammit!

Jill - Oh god, you and Laura both with that book. She's been trying to get me to read it for years.

Frankie - You are way too kind. That awesomeness might actually be desperation, but whatever, we'll take it!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

doesnt hope grown on trees - oh - never mind that is money. hey that would give you some hope! money!

Jeannie Lin said...

You're going to angst whether the hope tank is full or not, so might as well keep it full. Empty hope tank leads to eating least it does for me.

Corey Schwartz said...

I'm betting your blog stats are through the roof today! I loved this post so much that I tweeted. Then Tara Lazar (who has about a million contacts) re-tweeted. And then someone else re-retweeted! So I am expecting you to set a record :)

JennyMac said...

LOVE this...and I read that book when I was a heartbroken hot mess back in college over a boy. Hope Tank is great.

Have a few tiny minutes during FamilyJam week and had to stop by and say hi.

Little Ms J said...

Oprah's Book Club should commission a study to see what the occurrence of mania and prescriptions of Xanax are written in communities with large writing populations. At least we know the good drugs are probably in Oxford.

Keep your Hope Tank full, pimps. You're going to be famous.

I know.

PS - Am I the only person who can read the letters in the word verifications? I spend more time guessing what is an L and what is an I than I do commenting.

Sarah Wylie said...

So funny, you guys. In this situation, I am Team Laura. My hope tank (for your book) is high. I hope you get some good news really, really soon.

Tara said...

Great post. As you both are well aware, my Hope Tank is always full for Team Roecker! Miss you girls!

jdsanc said...

I'm with Storyqueen, too. I love your blog! I love your banter. You two are so rockin. You are the bomb. And that tank. Yeah. So there.
But all that passion, all that angst, that comes across in writing big time. It will take you the distance.
Just breathe

Samantha said...

This week will rock...fill that tank up!

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