Well, the proposal is winging its way to the agent (Andrea Hurst, http://www.andreahurst.com, for those interested), and I can finally relax. It’ll take her a couple weeks to review it, during which I won’t be submitting to anyone else, so that leaves me free to work on the book some more, and play with chocolate. In any event the proposal is complete. From here on out it’s just a matter of submitting it to agent after agent until I find one, or give up and go directly to publishers.
I feel relieved. I know there are people who would spend the entire next couple of weeks biting their nails, but I’m pretty good at letting go of things I can’t change. I’m not desperately worried about finding an agent because I believe it’s going to happen. It’s a good book, I have a good proposal, and I have a writing coach with a great deal of experience guiding me along. (Hal Zina Bennett, http://www.halzinabennett.com. Has helped over 200 writers get published, including a friend of mine.) Also I have a pretty good record of getting what I want, even if it takes awhile. Hell, if I have to, I’ll self-publish this book. So whether this particular agent likes it or not isn’t a burning issue for me–I *know* it’s good.
I’m reminded suddenly of a passage out of Rainier Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet:
You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you – no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your while life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.
And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.
That’s this book, and that’s why I’m not that worried about one or more agents. They’re a means to an end, not a judgment on the work.
That said, it would be AWFULLY nice if this particular agent said “yes” – then I could get to work on the next phase, getting published.
Still musing about how to approach AIDS Lifecycle. I suspect I may go on musing for a few more days.
Meanwhile, a pattern for a fancy dress has arrived from Vogue. It’s another of the off-the-shoulder numbers, but this one’s got small sleeves and enormous poofy fabric roses (6-8″ in diameter as far as I can tell) on the dress. I figure if I cut it down to thigh-length I should have a nice little dress-pattern, and the big roses would be fun to try on a tutu.
The pinon nuts I ordered a month or two ago have arrived. They’re every bit as tasty as the pinon nuts I remember climbing up a tree to get about ten years ago, but they’re only half the size–not sure if that’s a species difference or just the blight that’s devastated the crop this year. At any rate, I have ten pounds of them, which will be plenty to chew my way through. I’ve already made a good start–they’re yummy!!
What else…I think that’s it!