Today I signed with the literary agent I’d been hoping to partner with. She warned me my manuscript would need work, that I’d have to be open-minded and teachable in continuing to shape it. I’m nervous about what I don’t know, but I told her I believe in my story–and I believe in hard work. So here’s to the next stage in the process.
Right now I’m thinking
- Should I write something about gratitude since it’s Thanksgiving week?
- I’m not over this cold. Running wouldn’t be a good idea, and I am losing my mind as a result.
- Why are my dogs developing food aggression all of a sudden?
- There are a bazillion doomsday blog posts out there. Every second person is writing in Manichean terms–as if life is a Star Wars installment, and everyone is either on Luke’s side or Darth’s.
- Everyone pretends to be Yoda, but no one is.
- I need to ease up on the coffee.
- Another agent requested my full manuscript and says she’s anxious to read it (!!!!!!!!!!).
- No more coffee today.
- I haven’t touched my manuscript since I got that email.
- What is going on with me that I can’t get back to editing the manuscript?
- I entered my novel in writing contest in which one judge gave me a total score of 98.7 out of 100 with glowing comments. The second gave a 97.8/100 with similarly glowing comments. The third gave me a 77 with no comments.
- I cannot stop thinking about that 77 with no comments.
- A 77 is a C.
- The only time I’ve ever gotten a C is in an Algebra class.
- Writing a novel feels like doing Algebra II.
Last night I turned the last page of a book I’d been putting off finishing. I told myself I wasn’t making progress on it because I’m too busy, but the truth is that I was nervous it was going to wreck me. I’d heard a lot about Shusaku Endo’s Silence. My sister had read it. So had two of my kids.
Everyone I talked to said, “Just be in a good place when you read it.”
I’m not in a particularly good place right now, but I felt this urge (sense of duty?) to finish it, for some reason. Maybe because my motto for my 40’s is: Don’t wait until you feel like doing [insert difficult, worthwhile thing] because you might not ever feel like it, and then what have you got?
I could edit this, but I won’t.
Now I’m on the other side of Silence, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Was it painful to read? Yes. Do I have a lump in my throat that I cannot currently swallow, even after three cups of coffee? Yes. Am I glad I pressed into the discomfort and questions and scenes of torture to get to the beauty? Emphatically, yes.
I feel like this is a lesson–that it means something on a grander scale–but it’s too soon to tell. For now, I suspect it’s just one more example of how it’s better to face things than to avoid them. Even if what you’re avoiding is a heavy book.