Monday, November 28, 2011

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part (or not)

I wasn’t going to write about this, the potential book deal, PBD for short, that’s been pulsing in the back of my mind for weeks now, flaring up here and there during quiet moments or simmering on the back burner when I’ve been distracted by out-of-town visitors. But there are no distractions now. The visitors have departed. The carcass of leftover turkey has been picked clean. Yesterday I threw out the remaining plop of congealed stuffing because no one in my family could bear to look at it anymore. Today hubby is at work, and children are at school, and I am back in my office/guest room and there is nothing much to do but THINK about the PBD while at the same time trying NOT to THINK about it.

I wasn’t going to write about this because I have the niggling, superstitious feeling that writing about a possible dream-come-true may jinx, curse, doom (insert you negative verb here) the whole thing and I will be left looking like a fool/hopeless dreamer/na├»ve beginner. It seems silly to talk about something that hasn’t happened and possibly won’t happen. Don’t count your chickens, etc. So I was going to wait and not discuss it and then if/when IT happened, I could just burst out with the good news and cry happy tears on my keyboard and say thankyouverymuch to my supporters, yadda yadda ya.

But I started this blog because I wanted to create a picture of what life is like for an unpublished, persevering writer. I envisioned a person like the Me of fifteen years ago reading it, a person just starting on the journey and not knowing what she is getting into. And I think that person should know what it feels like at this point, when there is a PBD glimmering just ahead.

It feels like you're a nervous, pessimistic wreck.

I’ve heard stories from people, writers who came soooo close and then watched their chances slip away. I can imagine what this feels like. I was putzing around the grocery store the other day and I had a vivid flash of myself getting the call, but it wasn’t the one where your agent tells you there’s an offer on your book, it was the call where she says they changed their minds. Actually, this would probably happen in an email now that I think about it. Which is why I dread opening mine lately. In the supermarket I let the whole vision unfold. My few minutes of frustrated tears. My day or two shuffling around the house wearily wondering if I should just quit for good. The well-meaning reactions of family and friends. (They’re comforting yet also sort of like, yeah, that sucks, but did you really think this was going to happen to you?) And then I saw myself plunked out in my office opening up a new file and starting another book. Because that’s what I do in the face of rejection. I write. This whole vision flashed at me in the grocery store aisles and I went through the entire gamut of emotions and came to the check-out feeling completely fine. It hit me that I know exactly how I’d react because rejection and failure have happened to me before. Been there. Done that. I keep writing anyway.

But success. Now that is something I have no real experience with.

Seemingly pointless digression: Last year my son got cut from the lacrosse team at his school. It was a very discouraging experience for him, to put it mildly. He’d worked hard, attended grueling practices, done all of the things the coach suggested to get better. The way they tell the kids if they made the team or not is they have all of them come to the gym and then the coaches call each kid in one by one to have a little talk. It seems excruciating to me, that wait out there in the gym, the guys all looking at each other and wondering who’s in and who’s not. But my son told me the moment the coach called his name wasn’t too bad. It was the moment when he still had a chance to be on the team, so there was this feeling of expectation and possibility and hope and he could see himself in the uniform and running out onto the field in front of the cheering fans.

He got cut. But that moment right before he found out was the closest he was going to be to being on the team so he let his dream in and he basked in it.

I have no idea what’s going to happen with the book deal, but at this moment I think I’ll bask in its potential glory. And I promise from now on I’ll share every gory and/or delicious detail with you.

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