Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

Pumpkin Pie with the Copyright Avenger

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
35,369 / 50,000

New words: 1038
Current deficit: 4639 (back up, but not too much)

Working conditions: Brief longhand shift while stuck in traffic between Jersey Turnpike tollbooths and Goethals Bridge (an hour and a half to go less than 3 miles) while in car with spouse, sister-in-law and sister-in-law's husband. They were all good sports about it when I pulled out my legal pad, even though I later missed hearing a perfectly reasonable question and had to say, "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. I'm building a city." I'm as crazy as anybody else in the clan. Late night typing shift after spouse and guests asleep, turning city notes into Stisele's first attempt to assert her power as colonial governor in the old capital of Miaaro. (Things my parents taught me while we were stationed in Japan: When solidifying new-found political power, move the capital, but remember, this trick only works once. Kyoto-->Edo, but not Edo-->anyplace else.) Persistent cat on keyboard.

Despite running on 4 hours of sleep (had to make word count quota the night before), I had a wonderful time with the in-laws. I'm fortunate in that I'm genuinely fond of all of them, even the ones who push my buttons sometimes. (And no, I'm not just saying that because my cousin-in-law tokeiwakamidesu just friended me. Hello, you!) Dan had prepared our hosts for the likelihood that I'd be immobilized by my foot injury, so nobody believed me when I said I was fine, and I was barred from doing any dishes. Sounds like a sweet deal, but really, it pains me anytime I feel like I'm not pulling my weight.

The most writing-relevant bit of the evening is that I got to spend over an hour picking the Copyright Avenger's brain. Her secret identity as my mother-in-law's best friend since college should not deceive us. The Copyright Avenger handles rights and permissions, and she's very, very good at what she does. Good, like testifying as an expert witness in the National Geographic case, speaking at the Copyright Society's events, publishing articles on copyright in the digital age in places that matter. She used to be the person who renewed all of Harlan Ellison's copyrights, back when they needed to be renewed every few years. For me, this detail is a Big Deal to find out, because Ellison was one of my big writing influences when I was in my teens. I managed to conceal a totally fangirlish visceral response and stick, instead, to talking shop. Mostly this consisted of asking questions, and then silently reminding myself to Shut Up And Listen. This is actually difficult to do at a celebration with my in-laws, among whom scintillating talk is always the favorite competitive sport. Sometime when I'm not running on four hours of sleep, I will attempt to convey the alarming state of the industry as she sees it.

One of the wonderful things about eating pumpkin pie with the Copyright Avenger was hearing that she'd been asking around on my behalf. She's never been an agent, but she works with agents all the time, so she'd been trying to find out who the very shiniest agent is who handles science fiction and fantasy. The answer she came up with is Richard Curtis, who apparently is the person who first made it standard practice to scrutinize publishers' royalty statements and aggressively pursue publishers about discrepancies between the statements, the contracts, and the actual sales of books.

I was a little surprised to learn that the Copyright Avenger thinks about me at moments when I'm not around. I mean, I think of her when she's not around, but then, I wish I knew the things she knows. I've been commanded to keep her posted, to send her the ms for the big book, and to strategize with her about finding representation if the Shiny Young Agent who currently has the big book under consideration decides not to take me on. It's the Old Girls' Network in action, and not a generation too soon.

Copyright Avenger, Thank Goodness You're Here!
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