It’s been an interesting day.

Early this morning I took my eldest offspring down to the DMV so he could take his written test.  Yes, I am going to have to cut him loose soon.  There have been moments of panic about this, usually in the middle of the night.  What if he gets in a car wreck?  What if he gets lost, or has a flat tire, or his car breaks down in the middle of nowhere at 1 am? What if?  

But here’s what I know, learned the hard way by experience: you can’t live life by the ‘what ifs,’ because what actually happens is usually something you didn’t even think to worry about.  And there’s really no control over what happens anyway.  If you locked your kid up forever in their room in order to keep them safe, there would probably be some ironic tree that would fall on your house and take them out while they slept.  Or a prince might come a long and scale the wall, by means of the princesses’ long, long hair.  My point is, life is what it is, and both the the probable and improbable will happen despite your best efforts at control. 

As I write this, people are stomping so loudly on my roof that the windows are rattling. Normally this would be cause for alarm, but since there is a roofing project in progress, I’m trying to ignore what would normally send me out the door shrieking, “are you okay?”  This was another one of those ‘sometimes you just have to do it’ projects.  There is a long story here,  involving shoddy construction by the original owner and the unfortunate consequences thereof, and the project requires literally taking off a section of the roof and replacing it.  We were going to tackle this bit of fun and excitement on Monday, but the weather was oppositional.  It sulked, it stormed, it precipitated. Consequently, the weather for today was a topic of concern and debate.  There was angst, there was hesitation.  Should we do it now, or should we wait?  The contractor won’t be available again until the end of the summer.  What if, what if, what if?  And finally the decision was reached to boldly roof, a process which has been going on all day.

As for me, weaving in and out of the kid driving, the alarming roof noises, and rescue runs to the hardware store for roofing supplies, I’ve been working on a query letter.  If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you’ll know that this is not my first query letter, nor is it the first time this novel has ventured out into the world.

But this time there is an important difference.  The extensive and painful revision and restructuring process I undertook has paid off.  I love this book.  There used to be a little niggling doubt, a reluctance to let people read the manuscript.  Now I can’t wait to show it off.  I want to run around accosting total strangers and saying, “hey, you want to read what I just wrote?”  Consequently, when it comes to writing the query letter, the fear is deep and laced with a sense of responsibility.

There is so much to lose this time.  Don’t get me wrong: last time around I sent the novel out in good faith.  I truly believed it was ready to go. The novel wasn’t bad, the query was good enough to garner a partial read and some invaluable feedback.  But part of me really didn’t want to succeed because subconsciously I knew the novel wasn’t as good as I could make it.

Now I’m in a different place altogether.  I feel responsible to this novel – I owe it the best possible chance of making its way in the world.  Which means that so much more is at stake.  And I find myself lying in bed in the middle of the night, asking “what if, what if, what if?”

But there is no what if.  There is only what is.  Along with taking risks, and living life to the fullest, and writing the best story that is in me.

So that is what I intend to do.  (Once I get a green light from my absolutely fabulous query consultant – you know who you are.  I know you don’t want my firstborn child, or I’d be tempted to offer…)  When the query is ready, off it goes.  And I go back to writing, which means tackling Swimming North again.  Frankly, I’m looking forward to it.

Please feel free to share your ‘what ifs’ here in the comments.  Writing them for all to see kinda takes the energy out of them, I think, and opens the way for accepting both ‘what is’ and ‘what could be.’