So you remember that book I talked about forever and a day ago? That one where I half-heartedly sent it into a literary agent? Yeah that one?
Well it was rejected by said literary agent in 0.37 seconds forever and a day ago. And said rejection, forever and a day ago, lead to one of my favorite conversations ever:
“Yeah, they sent me back a postcard sized rejection letter.”
“Dude, I realize that postage is expensive and stuff but would it kill them to send a full size letter when they reject you?”
“I had to send a self-addressed stamped envelope with my query. They rejected me with my own postage.”
I think if I were ever to open up a Café Press store or to create my own t-shirt, ‘They rejected me with my own postage’ would be the t-shirt I’d make. Well that, and I have to make both my dad and my daughter shirts that say ‘I could eat.’ Because they can, often and in quantity.
But I didn’t come here to talk about random conversations I’ve had, or what witty t-shirts I’d make if I’d have the chance. Today I took a potentially big step and submitted my book into the 2012 Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. And I have to be honest, I’m freaking out. I have been for about a week straight. I’ve thought and over-thought about a million little things and then, while entering the contest, I realized that there were a million other things that I hadn’t thought about at all, which means I’m going to spend another week thinking and over-thinking those things until the contest officially closes and I’m not allowed to think of those things any more.
Did I mention I’m freaking out? To the point of distraction and also to the point that its not just me that I’m distracting. I’m calling my phone tree for help every few seconds, bouncing ideas off of them, peppering them with the smallest insignificant questions, dumping tons of emails on them so that they can review my stuff for grammar and content. But the person getting the brunt of it is my husband, my poor amazing husband who has always sort of realized that I’m a total co-dependent but the reality hit him hard this week. I was second guessing every decision I’d ever made, up to the point that I was considering rewriting the first two chapters, or cutting them out altogether. I think he had to talk me down off the metaphorical ledge about this sort of stuff like five times. And the number of times he had to tear me away from vigorous revising this weekend was astronomical. “Would you put that away for an hour, you have a child to feed.”
“If I don’t get this published soon, I’m going to be revising it until I’m eighty!”
“I knew that. And?”
(Ok, so maybe I did come here to talk about random conversations)
Finally, I let out my worries. “What if one sentence, or one decision is the difference between making it through a round and not making it through?”
“I don’t think one sentence or one paragraph is going to make a huge difference. There’s a million different reasons why you might not make it through. The person reading your entry could be pissed off at life, or in a really bad mood or could just not be into it that day when every other day this would have been something he or she was into. Try not to over-think it.”
Which, has my husband met me? That’s all I do, ever! But he’s right, there could be a thousand reasons why I won’t make it to the next round or the round after that and they may have nothing to do with my actual book, or they may have everything to do with my book. But at some point I just have to trust that I created a great story and hope that other people see that too.
I hope so. I hope that everything Ukiah taught me and that I put in that book gets out there into the world. I hope I can share my memories of him with other people and that they’d get to know what a tremendous spirit he was, because it is in there too. I hope.