Monday, October 24, 2011

How Much of Human Life is Lost in Waiting?

I hate waiting.

This is not a good trait for a writer. I can imagine my agent's eyes rolling when he sees my email asking if he's heard anything from anyone about my manuscript that's out and about. Doesn't that sound like my manuscript is sitting poolside drinking cocktails with little umbrellas in it? Sadly, it might as well be, because that's all the action it would be getting right about now.

As my agent says, publishing moves on a cosmic scale, not a human scale.

I liken the wait to hear from publishers to the wait when we were adopting our daughter. We adopted our daughter from China in 1998, but for a year and a half before we actually met her, we were waiting. The thing about adoption is that you hear NOTHING until you hear SOMETHING. There are no little notes or voice mails telling you that things are in the works. There is silence. Very very loud silence. And then all of a sudden, you get a Fed Ex delivery with a picture of the most beautiful baby you've ever seen and the wait is over.

Publishing is exactly like that. You hear nothing. Until suddenly, one day, your agent calls and says that he's heard something. And someone wants to buy your book (the agent only ever calls if it's good news...bad news is sent via cyberspace). I got that first phone call while I was editing car and truck stories for the weekly Car and Truck Section at the New Haven Register. I don't even really remember what my agent said, because my heart was pounding so loudly. I had been waiting two years for news on that book. I had written two whole other books in that time of waiting.

That's what they say to do: Write. Write another book. And it's good advice. I've started something new, actually, two something-news. But it doesn't mean I'm not tapping my toe on the inside, hoping that the cosmos would move just a tad more quickly on the one that's already done.

Are you a patient person? Or do you just want to hear something already, like me?

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