moving on


A little over a month ago I sent out a pile of queries to agents.  Each of them suggested that I would hear if he/she were interested in EDITH, and that might take four or five weeks.  So far, I’ve received two written notices of disinterest, and ten silences. I’ve forgotten how benumbing this kind of waiting is. In the past month, I’ve read four novels, every page of Bon Appetit, several pages twice until I realized I was too enervated to cook more than frozen pasta. In the mass of incoming seasonal catalogs, I’ve found potential Christmas presents for all members of my family despite our agreement that we won’t give each other gifts anymore. I’ve watched stupid stuff on TV that sent me to my white wine bottle. Waiting.
And as of today it’s been five weeks. I’ve gained five pounds. My knees have begun to crackle from disuse.  I’ve run out of books on my Must Read list. I realize I have to make some kind of decision, get back on track. But which track? Writing? Marketing? A new round of agent searching? Volunteering at the kitchen for homeless men? Knitting that sweater I bought yarn for ten years ago? No, can’t do that; the moths got there before I did. What, then?
One of the advantages of being almost eighty is that one realizes nothing she decides at this point is forever. Maybe if she’s lucky, for five years. The track she chooses should be fulfilling, brain-joggling, easy on the knees, lined with friends and occasional laughs. It would be comforting to move along this track holding hands with folks she loves. 

And who love her–despite the fact that her novel can’t find an agent, that despite spending hundreds of dollars on publicity, her other novels have sold three copies this summer.
And maybe becauseof those facts, a grand daughter tells me I am a role model for her–I just keep writing, no matter what. 
A kind of legacy, I guess. Maybe better than a grandmother’s book on her shelf.
So I’m in the midst of deciding. Writing beats knitting a sweater that won’t fit even if I could salvage the wool; it beats standing in front of huge grill stirring green beans and onions; it beats eating myself into late onset diabetes; it beats allowing my brain to dissolve into mush at a much faster rate than it is going now.
Yes. From now on, I just won’t think about selling what I’m writing. What a concept!


My last blog was entitled “Edith Emerges.”  Somehow, however, in the past month she’s gotten stuck in the hole she’s emerging from, probably from the waist down, since she’s a little round like her creator who is even rounder after a week that’s included Mexican appetizers and marguaritas and sixty people in her living room.  I thought that with that kind of stress, I would lose weight.  I, however, had to taste every enchilada, guacamole dip, Mexican meatball I created.  Not to mention the trial marguaritas.
So Edith got stuck. However, I need to be honest.  It wasn’t the south-of-the border party that stuck her. It was me, stuck deeply in my own hole of depression. You see, I had entered a screenplay, which I dearly love and which actually won small awards in a couple of contests, to a BIG contest.  For $50.  Tax deductible, I figured. I didn’t expect to win, but an honorable mention would have sent a surge of hope, as well as a reason for the next thrust of queries to Hollywood or whomever. Personally, also, I admit I was hoping for a pat on the back as an aging woman still hanging in there.  So out of 6000 entries, I did not make the top ten percent.  After a bout of wine-solace, I found a scrap of paper and a pencil and figured out that the contest managers had taken in, from the 6,000 of us with stars in our eyes, $300,000!  Minus, of course, the $5,000 prize and whatever an interview with a producer costs.
I wished the winner well.  No way could I write a dystopian movie involving four-breasted beings with six fingers, and who knows what else, in a ravished landscape somewhere east of Portland.  And then I gave a thought to the inhabitants of my real world, writers like me who keep churning stuff out, sending queries, paying sometimes to win or find a place for our precious words, hoping for . . . for what? 
And that was the question. Why?  And somehow as I squirmed my way out of my black pit, I found my answer.  I have a retirement fund; I don’t need money.  I have grandchildren who love me, so I don’t need fame.  I have at least fifty friends and acquaintances who have bought my two ebooks, so I have been read.  What more is there?
What more is that I need to get Edith, my seventy-year-old protagonist, out of her pickle.  Tomorrow she will escape to go on to get into more trouble.  Me, too.
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