The end of this week marks the sixth full week since I sent in a letter of interest to an agent for the first time, which is the outside boundary of the time line the agent’s site said it would take him to read a letter of proposal. This means that on Monday, I get to send a letter asking if he’s read the letter and, if so, was it so bad that he just didn’t want to read any more? I’m not a major egotist…though a healthy ego never hurts…but I’m still looking for an email all through the weekend and hoping that there’ll be a last minute reprieve from the impending humiliation I feel is coming.
I can compose a letter saying “sorry”, and I can compose one saying “thank you”, and I can even compose one saying “please sir, may I have some more”, but composing one asking a person to tell you how badly you suck is hard, like granite hard. Asking people to read a beta copy of your stuff and critique is one thing; there, you’re asking someone to tell you just where your faults lie so you can best correct them. Here, I’m waiting for an agent to decide whether or not he likes 15 pages enough to ask to read the rest. It’s like baking cakes at home for 10 years, then asking friends and family to tell you what they do and don’ t like about your cakes, then taking a small whiff of cake and icing to a professional chef and asking him if he’s like to taste the whole slice just to wait a month and a half to find out what he’s thought. Oh yeah, and we do all this knowing full well that there are a hundred other writers/chefs doing the same thing on a weekly basis.
The worst part of everything is fighting the ghosts inside of my head, the ones telling me I’m not good enough because no one’s responded yet. They get all twisted up with the ghosts that tell me he already responded but I missed it in my email and thusly blew my best chance at publishing; I try to let the two of them fight it out and hope that whatever comes out will be weak and easy to fight off, but the longer the silence, the stronger they each get. There are other ghosts in there too, each fighting for its own share of my limited consciousness, but they’re all small potatoes right now. That’s kind of how I feel, honestly – small potatoes.
Things will get better one way or the other. If this one says “no”, I frame his letter of rejection over my desk and move on to the next guy. I’d love him to say “yes”…but I’m prepared to hear whatever he has to say with an open mind. I know the destination isn’t the end-all be-all of life, but it’s always nice to know there’s a safe place at the end of the road to rest your head. I’m tired already, but I’m nowhere near worn out. One way or the other, I’m shifting into a different gear come Monday.
I’m just hoping it’s into a cruising gear rather than a climbing one.