In my last post, I spoke about querying big agents for my book. I admitted that I was a bit scared and intimidated.
For those of you who know me in real life, this revelation is likely surprising. I mean, I’m the person who can talk to anyone. I mean anyone. It could be a lesbian homeless eighty year old with a three legged dog and I’d find some reason to have a conversation and celebrate Thanksgiving together. “Oh, you have a lot of female friends? Me, too! …The three legged dog is very cute. Do you find she’s an unusually good sniffer or listener to compensate for her lack of mobility?… My eighty year old mom is a good listener. No, she is not a lesbian, but she does have a fat dog that resembles an overstuffed ottoman on stubby sticks. Let’s go dumpster diving! I sure love thrift store shopping! Did you find your loafers at Good Will or on the sidewalk?”
All joking aside (though I never joke about dumpster diving) too much self-reflection can be bad. “Paralysis by Analysis” my dad used to always say. But a little self-reflection? That’s a good thing. It’s a time to feel… to think… to act.
In the case of the querying, my unusual reaction does not come from my 44 year old self. On a very primal level, it is my ten year old geek girl responding.
Perhaps you knew someone like me in grade school. Maybe you were like me, too? A bit on the shy side… easily intimidated by jocks, loud singers and girls who could actually fit in skinny Guess jeans. You knew you were smart, but you weren’t smart enough to be part of the cool crowd. You were out. And that made you feel inadequate.
The truth is, those big agents are not school yard bullies. They are not waiting to pick on my height or talk about a cool slumber party that I wasn’t invited to. Hell, half of those “bullies” weren’t bullies at all. The bully was in my brain. It ran on my fear, not other’s true perceptions. Those agents are people just like you and me – living life, making a buck, trying to make a difference with their art.
Some of the agents will not read my query at all. Some will pass as it’s not what they’re looking for. Others will agree to read a few pages. (Thank you to those that have responded so far… a big… fat…ONE! But she’s the best one.)
The amazing, obvious, duh-inducing truth is that what happened thirty years ago does not need to define who I am now. I have nothing to prove to anyone. And guess what? That same ten year old brain was the same brain that reacted to my kid’s T.S. diagnosis. It was the same one that took every tic and twitch personally. “You are not in the neuro-typical Mommy club” it shouted at me. “You failed. You did not make the cut. You are inadequate.”
Beginning last week, I decided it was time to take my writing skills to heart and rewrite that script I’d been acting out with this query process. I determined that the old reactions to my son’s tics (which are up again) do not have to be my new reactions.
No, ladies, I took that script by the spine, lit a match and threw it into the fire. But before I did, I uttered to very powerful words:
You should try it.