In filing new query letters for my short story collection, I came across an old document. The year was 2007. The list identified agents who asked for stories or the entire manuscript. There were many. I chose one.
The agent I picked was not good for me.
I piddled around with him for four years, only to ultimately part ways, my fiction unsold.
I’m not saying I made a mistake—in the interim, the cross book was published and the Door of Hope Writing Group came into being. Knowing me, neither of those things would’ve happened if I’d had a Literary Book—capital L, capital B—on the table.
Changes have occurred during these years that cause a problem, and I’m not talking about changes in the publishing world. I’m talking about changes in me.
I’ve never been a naturally competitive person. “I don’t care anything about beating those girls,” I’d say to my mother in tennis tournaments. What I liked, what got me to the finals, was the beauty of the swing, the well-placed shot . . . the silver trophy.
Nor have I easily followed someone else’s path. I am arrogant enough to think I can do it a better way. And—here’s the real kicker—I don’t like repeating myself.
So when it comes to getting the short stories into the world, I’ve already done the “send out query letters, get an agent, jump up and down when the agent calls,” thing. That makes it boring, boring, boring.
So . . . .
How to achieve my goal—getting the stories into the world, encouraging people to experience them, maybe even inducing an aha! moment: short stories can be FUN!—while at the same time enjoying myself?
Only problem: when I practice reading the stories, timing myself, I start laughing, thinking, this is the funniest story.
I gotta buck up here. Get serious.
here’s to creative synthesis . . .