A thing happened!

I recently (about a month ago) sent the beginning of the book to an agent with whom I would truly love to work, not only because she’s top notch, but because of the sense of community she fosters amongst her clients.  Last night, she e-mailed that she “loves it” and wants the full manuscript, as well as synopses for the rest of the books in the series.  This is the most positive response I’ve received from an agent, and this is a marvelous agent, so I’m thrilled she enjoyed the first few pages as much as all that.  I always worry that the beginning of the book isn’t strong enough, but apparently it’s doing its job, at least for now.  I sucked up the agent’s praise like it was my last hit of oxygen, sent off what she asked for, and am now full of what is probably ill-advised hope. 

Hope for the best; expect the worst.  I was a kid the first time someone offered me that little pearl of wisdom.  I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now.  Is anyone capable of reveling in the spectacular lightness of hope, while at the same time preparing to bear up under the weight of disappointment? Maybe some people are, but not me. I can’t do both at once. I ping-pong between the poles of anticipation until I’m exhausted.  And the truth is that no matter how stern I try to be with myself, hope is always there, fluttering away and making it impossible for me to be realistic. 

My friend Kathy, who has an agent and whose book will soon go out on submission, says that this process makes her feel a little like she’s in junior high again, with a massive crush.  “I hope he likes me!  Do you think he likes me?  Did he say he likes me?  What did he say?”  Every little thing matters so much, and the heart is so tender and open and ready to be smashed.  My friend Melissa, whose book is published, says that even after success arrives, hurtful things still happen out there in the public eye, and that pretending to have a thicker skin is just part of the job.  But she also says that if she ever stopped feeling the hurt, or the fear, then she’d worry she’d lost something that’s important to her humanity and her writing.  I think there’s a lot of truth in that. 



  1. “Every little thing matters so much, and the heart is so tender and open and ready to be smashed.”

    Um, yes. With art, at least the reaction is fairly immediate. With writing, someone takes the time to actually get to know you (okay, maybe only a first chapter of you, but still…) which makes rejection hurt even more.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you, that everything falls into place soon!

    • Anytime your product is a piece of who you are, it hurts like hell. Immediate, or long and drawn out, when someone doesn’t like your work, it’s hard to stomach. Auditions were often immediate rejections, but it was just so personal. Even though it wasn’t. I know you know. Thanks, Polly.

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