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So, I can tell you already that there will not be 10 queries from me floating around in Agent Land by the end of today.
This isn’t really surprising. Yesterday, after I got home from work and got through dinner and cleaned up the dishes and got the kids to their music lesson and took my son driving (if there ever was a time to drink and drive, teaching your kid would seem to be it!) it was after 8. I worked on my query, I brushed up my synopsis, I researched my agents. In between conversations about “can I have a friend over tomorrow?” from one kid, and assisting in the purchase of online tickets for the upcoming Heart/Cheap Trick/Journey concert for the other one, I managed to launch two targeted, personalized, e-mail queries.
I had some idea of doing more today, but here’s how the day is shaping up: I’ve got peaches waiting to be canned. The Newsletter I’m editing for the WADMHP should be done at the printers today, and needs to be folded, labeled, stamped and mailed. My new MacBook Pro should be arriving today. And the power went out at 3 am.
Currently, I’m sitting at the local coffee shop, unshowered and scrubby, getting both my caffeine and morning internet fix. The power may or may not be on in a few hours. My laptop battery lives about as long as a gnat. I’ve got peaches ripening. I figure, two query letters isn’t much, but it’s something. A beginning. One of my mottos for myself, coined a long time ago in the middle of a chaotic job, is this: Just start somewhere, and take it from there.
I’ve done that. Two queries are better than no queries. Besides, they kind of took me over the fear barrier and I think it will be easier to go on. Hey, if the power doesn’t come back on I might just spend most of my day off reading. I can live with that.
Note: I really do not advocate drinking while teaching your child to drive. In case anybody was wondering.
So I’m feeling just a teeny bit lost since I finished Filling in the Blanks. I’ve been a good little writer – I’m making my list of agents, working on my query letter, and I have several versions of a synopsis that just need a little more tweaking before I send them out into the world. I’ve even started reading through the Gatekeeper manuscript and thinking about where its revision might take me.
But I miss the writing space I was in, even though I was in such a hurry to get out of it. Figures. I’ve always been a sucker for greener pastures.
The thing is, Murdoch and Yates have been a daily part of my life for several years now. They were there before I moved into this town and to this house. Before I started this job. Before my oldest son started driving and the recession hit. They were constantly with me, whether I was writing or not. Quiescent at times, but ever present.
It’s oddly quiet in my head and I don’t know what to do about it. The first day or two it was a relief, like ending a relationship that has gotten overly demanding. And then you wake up one morning and start thinking, “wait a minute! Did I do the right thing? Was it really over? Maybe I could have, should have, held onto it just a little longer…”
I’m one of those people who could revise and edit as long as my fingers still move and I have breath in my body. There is always a better word, always a sentence that doesn’t flow quite right, always something a little wrong with the plot.
Not this time, I say. Moving on. I’d like to commit to sending queries off today, but I know better. For one thing, I’m ‘on call’ and a single ring of my phone could tie me up for the rest of the day and maybe the night. For another, I’ve got two kids to get ready for back to school. So, let’s say by the end of Tuesday. I hereby commit to sending off ten queries, either by email or snail mail, by the end of September 26. And if I fail in this challenge I have set for myself, well then –
I’ll set another date and try again.
I am not going to linger here long, but just needed to announce to the world that I have completed Filling in the Blanks.
Time for queries and synopses and picking out that list of 10 agents to begin with. A daunting prospect that, another mountain to climb. I think I’ll wait for tomorrow before I begin.
I celebrated by ordering a Mac NotebookPro. Can I afford it? Not really. Do I deserve it? Yes!
And, in the immortal words of Forrest Gump – that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
A few days ago, Cliff responded to my bee analogy with the following comment:
“The term “author” is an “honorific” and unless you’re willing to dedicate yourself utterly to the calling of writing, don’t bother applying for membership. I think it was Thomas Carlyle who called writers a “priesthood” and he wasn’t far wrong…”
This comment bothered me immediately, and I’ve turned it over in my head a lot over the last few days to sort out exactly why. I now have a not so humble opinion to offer in response.
As it turns out, I don’t aspire either to the priesthood, or to membership in an elite author’s club. I am first, and foremost, a human being, and like other members of the human race I am a beautiful mess of gifts and ineptitudes, fatal flaws and incredible potential. Much of the time I am simply bewildered and confused, trying to make some sense out of what I’m doing on this planet and how it fits in with all of the other human dramas I see playing out around me.
Other people turn to art, or music, or work, or sometimes to the time tested and always inefficient method of alcohol or other chemical sedation. I write. Something about the way I am wired, something in my genetic code or my upbringing or some combination of the above, makes me more at home with words than any other outlet. And so I write – to understand, to heal, to change, to accept. Maybe in this process I’ll write something that sings to somebody else. Maybe I’ll write something that gets published, and if I do, and if I experience some success or even some financial benefit from this, I will be ecstatic! Or at least, I think I will, but no success will ever be enough, because that is another part of how I am wired.
I’ll keep writing, anyway, published or unpublished, because it’s the only way I know to be in this world. I’ll write in the middle of homework questions and the building of snacks, through the latest guitar licks performed by one child while the other works out a difficult riff on the piano. I’ll write early in the morning and late at night. I’ll also go on hauling trash to the dump, vacuuming dust bunnies off the floor, cleaning toilets, and wondering why, oh why, is there toothpaste on the floor between the toilet and the tub? And, what sort of magnetic attraction causes inert substances like dust and hair to make a dust bunny in the first place? I’ll continue going to my job and trying to remain open to the incredible pain my clients and their families face on a daily basis.
Some days I’ll be too busy or too tired or too discouraged, to either wonder or write, but I won’t give up. I hope this gets me published some day. I hope even more that it makes me a better human being, maybe even one who can speak in a limited way for those who haven’t got a voice.