Update. I don’t know how Webster’s defines the word, because I’m too lazy to get up and get the dictionary off the shelf. Dictionary.com defines the word as “an act or instance of bringing a person up to date on a particular subject.” Laura-and-Kris-the-neurotic-writing-duo define “update” a little differently. It’s a six-letter word inducing nausea and heart palpitations; an act or instance of relaying information likely to kill a dream. Okay, so our agent, the lovely Ann Collette of the Helen Rees Literary Agency, is wonderful about keeping us in the loop. She champions our book and sends email updates of editors’ responses, always using the word “update” in the subject line. At first, we tore open these emails (virtually, of course) with gusto. They said things like, “another editor is interested in reading your ms,” or “Editor X makes four editors to ask for the ms.” (ms, by the by, is publishing lingo for manuscript. And, just for fun, the publishing world uses “softcover” not “paperback.” We’re so savvy now. ) Lately, however, when an “update” arrives, we’re inclined to leave it unopened, having already read our fair share of, “Editor Y likes the book but doesn’t think he can market it,” and “Editor Z thinks you are hilarious and the book is well written, but is going to pass.” Hear that? That’s the sound of our dream gasping for air, struggling to hang on. We still hope one of the editors with the ms will come to the rescue, but instead of sitting around praying for that possibility or brooding about the alternative (which we’ve done, extensively, times two), we’re chewing gum. I dated a guy in high school with a fantastic family. Dad watched The Simpsons and wore Hawaiian shirts, mom baked cookies and drank California Coolers, and little sister looked up to me and let me "teach" her gymnastics for hours on end. Mom believed Wrigley’s Spearmint gum was the answer to every problem. Carsick? Chew some gum. Headache? Chew some gum. Didn’t make the football team? Chew some gum. And though mom probably ensured vacation homes and convertibles for the kids’ future psychologists with her gum/denial therapy, there was some merit to her minty madness. In a word…distraction. If you want to stop dwelling on a problem, find something else to do. In our case, we’re not masticating our problems away . . . we’re writing. We finally sat down and started our new book in earnest and it’s added so much joy to our lives. This morning, for the first time in weeks, I woke up and the first thing I thought about was a particular character in the new book. I didn’t even wonder if there was an “update” on my BlackBerry until I was on the way to work. Score one for chewing gum.