“Well duh.” My dad said as he talked me down off the ledge I hovered on, just above the pit of dark and ugly.
“It is called Looking for Life with More Theatre and Less Drama. The title pretty much assures you that it is going to be introspective.”
I just got a rejection letter from my first round draft pick agent, the agent I could only create in my very best make believe, my sure thing, and she rejected me.
Between the recent publicly humiliating dating disaster and realizing I would never see one of my kids again, I had had all of the unpleasantness I really want to deal with for a while.
And this just sucked.
My first thought was, “Too introspective?” I can’t fix that. That is just me.
Ahh…isn’t Murphy ’s Law a bitch.
Here I am going on about not using the “it’s just me” excuse and it was the first thing that came to mind.
Though to be fair, my “just me,” involved the publishing of my book not the humiliation of another human being, although I suppose I did attempt that in my post of retribution…Hmmm.
“You can’t help but be introspective,” dad said. “What other kids debated the value of music over world peace at the dinner table.
He was right. I am a product of my parents and these days I am finding it increasingly bewildering.
How do I know what is good? When should you bend for your audience?
My dad kept reminding me that it took Frank Baum 16 years to get the Wizard of Oz published. “Although I know you don’t want to wait that long he said.”
He told me to have faith in my work and all that shmushy stuff your family is supposed to say when something disappointing happens. I don’t find shmushy to be terribly helpful but I appreciate the attempt.
But then he talked it out with me, first asking if there was anyway I could rewrite the book, not bailing when the suggestion was met with a prickly response. We discussed the issue of introspection, its positives and negatives and how it would read to an audience. It reminded me of working on my homework as a kid. Not something I particularly enjoyed. This was better. Two grown-ups. Friends.
So I decided the answer might be to change my audience before panic and toss out my book. At a closer inspection it made sense. I had been targeting agents with a penchant for travel/adventure and memoir. A hard sell to begin with, let alone in this market.
I am going a different route and I am excited to see what happens. I am excited that rather than sinking into the bleakness I was able to see the light. And more than anything I am thankful I had somebody to help me through.