Monday, March 14, 2011

The Big Step

I did something kind of momentous, at least it was for me. I sent out a sample of my book to a literary agent. It was the last, and relatively small step I've been meaning to do since I finished my book a year and a half ago. And yet it was huge.

I don't talk about the book much, here or anywhere else, mostly cause Chris has me so paranoid that it could be stolen at any moment that I'm scared for anybody to look at it. Its also partly because I'm so tied up in it that I don't want to write about it, afraid of sharing too much. But its something important to me, mostly because its the only piece of fiction work I've actually had the wherewithal to complete. I love writing creatively, but aside from the odd short story or rambling essay, I haven't had the true compunction to finish writing anything bigger than a few pages.

Then Ukiah came along and changed all that. I was so inspired by what he went through and so motivated by not just his story but his spirit, that I felt it necessary to write it all down and put is somewhere. It's a piece of work I like to call partly autobiographical, partly science fiction. It's not Ukiah's story, in case you're wondering, but he's in there. It's not all about his medical trials and tribulations, but they are in there too. It's about so much more than that. Like all great books, I believe it takes a new and irreverent look at the human experience, and I think that's really what writers want to do. We just want to provide a thread to the tapestry of life.

And so yesterday I knowingly and willfully gave a piece of that thread to a literary agent clear across the country. All my hopes and dreams for the future are in the fed-ex box headed East. Yesterday I tweeted "Just left my future in the hands if a kinko's guy. Bye-bye writing sample for lit agent! Do me proud!" then I promptly entered my prenatal yogo class, picked a card my teacher hands out for the day containing affirmations, and saw that I picked the Surrender card. Basically, the card stated, I need to surrender to the fates whatever happens now. Apt, for what I'd just done. There's not much else I can do but surrender. I did my best. I scoured and cleaned my writing sample to within an inch of its life. I rewrote and rewrote sections. I checked and double checked the query letter and now all I can do is wait.

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring or the day after that. Maybe the lit agent will read the first 50 pages, become intrigued and then ask for the rest. Maybe I'll get a form rejection letter saying better luck next time. Maybe my package will get lost in freaky plane accident a la The Castaway, and will be adrift out to sea for a decade until somebody brings it back. All I know is I have to try. I have to get someone to see the beauty in what I wrote, so the outside world will. Also, apparently, I have to surrender.

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