Monday, July 29, 2013

Where's Gloria Gaynor When a Guy Needs a Hug?

Have you ever watched a movie, one that's based on a true story, and before it's even ended, thought, "Egads, I wonder what happened to those characters. What happened to all those actual dudes from the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team who were portrayed in Miracle?"

Thankfully, films about real-life events can't be followed by sequels, since people's lives don't work that way. It's not like that same hockey team could regroup twenty years later and stage a stunning defeat over the Hungarians in water polo.

Most of these movies get us up to date before the credits roll  plastering information across the screen like, "After scoring the winning goal against the Soviets and then defeating Sweden for the gold medal, Mike Eruzione settled in Duluth, Minnesota. He and his wife currently raise emus for pets and/or food. Believing that nothing could ever exceed the bliss he experienced in Lake Placid that winter, Eruzione lifts his hockey stick only once every year to bludgeon his prized emu for the Eruzione family Thanksgiving feast.

"Don't judge until you've savored the wonder of emu giblets."

Wow, how did I arrive there?

Anyway, I'd like to get you caught up on the events of a day I wrote about about six weeks ago. Presuming that you must be aching to know what happened with the same intensity as your concern for the Von Trapps as they scaled the Alps packing along nothing but a couple of acoustic guitars and a foxy new step mom, I'm here to ease your mind.

On June 12, about six weeks ago, three milestones transpired in our household:

My daughter graduated from high school.

Update: Her summer is going quite well, thanks. She's only got  fifty-eight days, eighteen hours and thirteen minutes left to play beach volleyball, admire her abs and guzzle massive goblets of Jamba Juice before starting college. I feel so bad for her, don't you? By the way, she still hates the words "moist" and "ointment," even after becoming an adult.

Our kitchen remodel was completed.

Update: Since then, we've painted a lot and slightly lamented our dark counter tops. Those things show more dirty rings than a Prince Albert piercing kiosk. We've sprinkled the rest of the house with sparkly new accouterments from Pier 1, IKEA, Target and maybe even a smidge of Craigslistishness.

I received an email from a literary agent asking for the full manuscript of my middle grade novel.

Update: I'd heard stories of writers persevering for years before getting an agent to fly into their empty mayo jar of hope, so I was really excited. Last Saturday night as I checked my email shortly before going to bed, this message sat into the old in-basket:

Dear Mr. Haywood:

Thank you for the opportunity to consider your work.

I read the pages you sent with interest. Unfortunately, after careful consideration, I have concluded that Ben's Fall is not a great fit for my list. Fiction, as I’m sure you know, is just about the toughest thing to sell in this very difficult market, and I am signing up projects very selectively in this category as a result. While the premise was intriguing, I'm afraid I didn't fall in love with the novel, so I wouldn't be the appropriate agent to represent it.

Best of luck in your search to find an agent and publisher.

Sincerely,
(Name redacted, but we'll call her "Agent-who-just-burst-my-dreams-like-bubble-wrap"—the kind with the larger bubbles).

Crap. I'd assumed, obviously incorrectly, that once she'd feasted her eyeballs on my masterpiece in its entirety, it was all over but the spell check. After she'd writhed on my roller coaster of joy, humor, angst and grief, I figured she'd say something like, "We're thinking we want to get you on a book tour as soon as possible. You don't get car sick in limos, right? It's funny, because Roald Dahl hurled all over my go-go boots once and after that I rode up with the driver."

Yeah, nope.

Oh, well. We don't write for fame and fortune, do we? Writing should be a passion, an itch that demands scratching on a daily basis, one that doesn't require validation from anyone but us.

I'm going to say that's somewhere around sixty percent true.

Really, it's totally cool. I've faced rejection more often than Kenny Rogers' face has been pulled with a sterile metal instrument. I've been broken up with, picked last at recess—hell, I once had a roommate whose girlfriend loved every rejection letter I received while looking for a job after college. She'd often walk into the living room, glance down at the torn letterhead and say, "Aw, did you get another rejection letter? That's too bad."

Schadenfreude much, you heinous she-wolf?

Here's a shot of me taken back in 1967. It was my sophomore year at Syracuse and my girlfriend happened to have her camera with her right after I was cut from the ultimate Frisbee team.

I held it together pretty well for this photo, but it was indeed a dark day in clammy upstate New York.

I will rise again. Like Nixon. Wait, not like Nixon, like Anthony Weiner. Wait, not like Anthony Weiner. Wait, I know...

I will rise again...like Brittany Spears. Yep, her.

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