Monday, March 29, 2010

Boring the Funny out of Me...

This week at Church, we had a big conference. I sat next to a group of deaf members near the front, facing an interpreter. Since the speaker was literally boring the funny out of me, I decided to turn my attention to the interpreter instead. She was of course signing, but she was also mouthing the words to the deaf group so I could follow along too. The small group was absolutely enthralled with the talk while the rest of us were plotting the speaker's bloody demise just to get him to stop talking.
The difference?
The interpreter was paraphrasing and simplifying the speaker's overly wordy run-on blatherings into succinct little bullet points of goodness. She was rewriting. She was the second draft to his epic failure of a first draft. She was distilling his bird-walking, wandering stories down to 'just the facts, ma'am'.
At the end, the deaf members walked up to shake the speaker's hand while the rest of us skirted out the back trying to avoid eye contact, running for freedom.
For me, this was a good lesson in brevity (which I am well aware, this story does not have) and the importance of rewriting and revisiting. So no, I have not mustered up the courage to start querying again, but I am mustering up the courage to revisit my work, to strengthen it and get it in the best shape it can be for that one final yes to come through.
And just in case you were wondering, next time we have the same guy come and speak to us at church, I'm bringing earplugs and sitting with the deaf members again.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Heavy Drinking...

To salvage what is left of my self-esteem and to shore up some inner-strength, I've stopped querying literary agents for a bit. I need the pause. I need the break. I need people not telling me "no" every time I open my email. But I don't want to break too long because of this wonderful quote I found.

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~Ray Bradbury

And while I've never had an alcoholic drink in my life, I understand the sentiment perfectly. The reality is that my book may never get an agent. I won't kid myself- I haven't come to terms with that yet. But, I think I love writing just a bit more than I like the idea of being a writer. And that is what I am trying to focus on. So, I'll stay drunk on the process and leave the "no"-collecting for next month.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ouch. Rejected.

Sixth grade softball tournament. My teacher, Mr. Watson (who had absolutely no soul when he subjected children to this) let the two best ball players pick the teams. Can you guess what happened? Awkward and chubby, I watched as the line of those who needed to get picked grow smaller and smaller until I was the last one standing there. The last one picked for the team.
Ouch. Rejected.

His name was Dan. He was the most beautiful 8th grade boy my 8th grade girl eyes had ever seen. He found out through the grapevine that I liked him. I found out through the grapevine (in record time might I add) that he most certainly did not like me back.
Ouch. Rejected.

I just received my tenth rejection form letter from another literary agent. And do I even need to say it? I do? Fine.
Ouch. Rejected. Epic.

So I look out to the vast array of cyberspace to find solace in my pain. I found Lynn Flewelling's words the most comforting. She said, "So when that first rejection shows up in your mailbox, toast yourself with a tall glass of something very nice. It’s proof that you’re off the porch and running with the big dogs now."

So I cracked open my finest can of diet caffeine-free coke (because that's how I roll) and toasted my 10th rejection. I know that every rejection makes the one epic "yes" I will receive one day that much sweeter. And Mr. Watson, here's hoping you are out there somewhere being picked last for the 60 years and older senior citizen's softball league. Karma, dude.