Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pick Me, Pick Me!

Whew! The last scene in the novel is drafted and today--confined as I am for the week by a knee brace and crutch--I begin the major revisions. I think that by the end of the year I will be ready to offer this story to the world. Will the world want it? No way of knowing that in advance. One huge hurdle remains, the agent search. I've had two unsatisfying encounters with agents over the previous novel (still sulking in its ms box), so I'm wary of this process. I've read and talked about the search, but it's making me shake. I feel like a third-grader waving her hand at the teacher, "Pick me, oh, please, pick me! I know the answer." So tired I have to hold the waving arm up with my free hand.

My third grade teacher, Miss Glascow, rarely picked me, except to stay in at recess and finish my arithmetic. (We didn't call it math in those dark days.) Even then I was a word-nerd, giving the numerals personalities, but rarely understanding their sterile, hard-wired interactions. A division sign was a little house with one number hiding inside and another knocking at the door. I never understood those numbers that ended up dancing on the roof. What did they mean? Well, I couldn't tell Miss G. what they meant and she thought that sitting at my desk while the rest of the class played tag outside would enlighten me.

A literary agent might be like her--asking me to explain the inexplicable, holding me back a grade, never picking me or my characters. The book business is about numbers--bottom lines and sales quotas, etc. (That etc. is a weasel word; it means I don't know any other specifics.) I just want to cut loose of the business part of writing. I want to go out and play with my imaginary friends, like Number Nine. She's lively and friendly, a great gal, that Nine. Okay, okay, I'll write the dang query letter: "Dear Miss Glascow, Please, please, pick me."

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