Thursday, January 29, 2009

Positively . . . Bummed

You know what commercial I hate? Somehow, Just For Men Haircare plunked down enough cash to get Walt "Clyde" Fraiser and Keith Hernandez to forgo their pride and sit in a hockey style booth at a bar. This setting apparently gives them the right to be as catty as women who've tipped back a few too many Cosmos, because they are sitting there, pretending to be watching some sporting event called "One Night Stand Goal!" And some guy who waltzed right over from the Bowflex commercial, pausing only long enough to have his hair spray-painted white, is turned down by the most shallow of all barflies, because his hair makes him old.

And Walt (or is it "Clyde?" I never can tell) and Keith go, "Rejected! No play for Mr. Gray!"

I hate this commercial. Like women don't get enough of this crap; now marketers are doing the same thing to men, and making women look like we have all the depth of a puddle.

And sadly, Walt (Clyde?) and Keith have been in my head for days now. Ever since I got the email.

The Email. From The Agent.


Yup. The Agent is going to pass. And I quote:

"Thank you very much for letting me see your work. Unfortunately the project does not seem right for me, and I am sorry I cannot offer to serve as your agent.

You write well and I usually find Western settings appealing, but the characters are just not working for me.

I do wish you all the best on finding more suitable representation, and thank you again."

Now, this is depressing. Perhaps the Noseless Cowboy isn't as entrancing as I thought; perhaps the things that make sense in my head don't actually make sense to anyone else. This sort of thing could quickly spiral out of control until I've managed to convince myself that I'm just wasting my time and money on the pipe dream of publication.

But this little drama occurred while I was what I like to call "dog-sick." As in, sicker than a dog. Remember last week, when my Mom and Gram and I spent the day shopping? Well, Mom came back up and hung out with us the rest of the weekend.

Bad Idea. Mom doesn't have the natural Kid-Germ Tolerance that those of us who spend all our free time with toddlers do, and she got sick. Very (damn) sick. And then she shared. She feels lousy about that, and I can't blame her, but it wasn't like she did it on purpose.

So I've been sick. Not as sick as Mom was (no one could be that sick) but still, it's been a workout to keep both eyes open AND my head upright for a few days.

Ergo, I've been too damn tired to be depressed. Oh, sure, I sniveled a little, but I felt like poo, I had no idea when my hubby was going to be able to get home, and I was, as Clyde (Walt?) and Keith kept saying, "Rejected!"

But being dog-sick also let me get a little distance. And distance, for me, equals perspective. And perspective equals Becca.

Everyone should have someone like Becca, if not the actual Becca, in their life. One of my oldest, dearest friends, Becca is the Zen-Master of Perspective. She radiates such measured calmness that it actually freaks a lot of people out - which is what initially drew me to her.

Becca has given me immense perspective as she is the living embodiment of "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff." Very handy for someone like me, for whom tizzies are second nature. The woman has talked me down more times than I can count, on everything from grad school rejections (oof, more rejections!) to the fact that a psycho relative of mine who shall remain nameless lest she sue me wore her mother-of-the-bride dress to my wedding, despite the fact that she's not my mother (one of my few wedding freak-out moments).

Becca's perspective is now (almost) second nature. So instead of dwelling on the fact that the agent passed on the book, I'm forcing myself to look on the positive. The agent said I write well. And since she requested the full, my query letters are getting better. The characters aren't working for her; they may work better for someone else. And I never really thought of this book as a Western, because that conjures up spaghetti westerns and Silvardo and Indians who are two dimensional at best, proving once again that I don't write stuff that is easily categorized.

This isn't the end of the line. Just another pit stop on the journey.

But now what? I think I still have two agents out of the initial six I queried who haven't responded. Do I query this book some more? Try to query the Lily and Bobby books (Don't Hold It Against Her and The Best They Could)? My instinct is to bury my head into the Warrior, Lawyer book (no, I don't have a better title yet) and finish it - it's almost done anyway - and query the same agent for that. She might like Nick and Rissa better. Or not.

I don't know. Unfortunately, this journey did not come with a built-in road map. Just a sound track with sports stars of yore shouting "Rejected!" on a constant loop.

Man, I HATE that commercial.


Therese said...

Hey Sarah, I'm glad you've been able to sit back and look at this for a bit and put it into perspective. Keep writing! Therese

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Hannah said...

Remember, Michael Jordan was told he would never be a good basketball player. Who's laughing now about that one?

Keep chugging and as mom's coffee mug says, "Don't let the turkeys get you down."

David Alan Lucas said...

Ok, this cousin can never call you Sarah, just like relatives can't get away from Davy.

There is a plaque that Grandma Lucas gave my dad that has always kept me going. "Don't worry if you work hard and your rewards are few. Remember! The mighty oak was once a nut like you!"

All humor aside, the path we are on as writers is fraught with rejections. I am no Stephen King fan, but his description in his memoir is true. He put a spike above (or around) his writing desk and stuck each rejection on it.

Don't you dare let this one rejection stop you. I know you say you aren't. I am just reinforcing. Keep going, keep writing, and one day....