I’ve had some ups and downs with internet, phone and so on, plus a changing work schedule over the last couple of weeks, so I’ve been extremely irregular about the blog. A lot of things have happened in my writing world, and I’ll talk more about that later. The big thing was this: the agent who was so excited about The Swan Harp decided to pass.
I was crushed. I’d believed, because of her positive comments and some previous communication, that it was a very strong possibility that she would sign me. I’m not stupid enough, naive enough or optimistic enough to think it was ever a sure thing, but I thought I had a really good chance. And maybe I did, but not good enough.
I cried and cried. I kept it together at work – mostly – but the moment I was back in the car for the drive home I burst into tears and cried so hard I couldn’t get my breath. Poor David wanted to put his arms around me, and I was struggling so hard to breathe I just wanted to be left alone, me and my shocked and paralysed lungs.
I said all the negative things we all feel when something like that happens. There’s no point going on. Why bother writing the next two books? Why bother writing again at all? Why wasn’t it good enough? I worked so hard on it – what did she want? I don’t understand the comments she made! It’s hopeless. I can’t face this again. I’ve wasted a year and a half. I’m wasting my time. What makes me think I’ll ever have a novel published?
That lasted forever, or at least it seemed like forever. Probably thirty-six hours, but they were truly horrible hours. I didn’t sleep well. There were other things mitigating against my recovery from this – I’ve just changed shifts at work, and in less than two days we went from going to bed at three a.m. to getting up at four-thirty a.m. The furnace is misbehaving. The phone connection is on the blink, and we have to get someone out to fix it on a day when we can both be home. I have laryngitis. It all piled up and made things look worse than they were – and a rejection after a year of dedicated work and high hopes is bad enough.
I’ve had a lot of comfort and support from people who know my writing, or who know the writing life, or who just know me. They’ve all said some variation of the same thing: “That totally sucks. But of course you’re going to send it out again, right?”
And, yes, I am. For one thing, I have a grant application due on December 15th. For another, after I calmed down and considered the communication I had with the agent, I’m convinced she probably isn’t much into fantasy. And for the record, I’m not mad at her, and I don’t hate her, and I think she dealt with me as fairly as she possibly could. I think, as much as I wanted to work with her, and as much as I liked her, she was not the right agent for me.
But here’s the stupid thing. In the middle of this shitstorm of shock and grief and self-pity there was a little chunk of me with her arms folded and her eyebrows raised saying, “You know you can’t quit writing. I bet you couldn’t quit for a mountain of chocolate delivered by a naked man.” Terry Pratchett calls these “third thoughts”, and I have them all the time.
Irritating, really. Because the bitch is right, dammit.