Friday, June 24, 2011

random acts

I am in Cannon Beach, a swanky town by my standards, for a writing conference. I have my fluffy little white dog with me and we have a lovely room with a fireplace and a view of the beach.

I like this conference. It gets better each year: good faculty, interesting information. For instance, I found a way to organize my book that I have been lacking, given my general, habitual, genetic lack of organization. Excellent.

And, one of the presenters was/is a senior editor at a good publishing house and he offered to look at agent queries and first pages for critique. What I didn't realize is that this would be done in front of the entire conference.

He critiqued five submissions, each one worse than the one before it, saving mine for last. I was, understatedly, anxious. Sweating bullets. Was mine to be the final straw, so flawed as to hold a special last place?

I waited.

I had included in my query letter, by way of bio, my alma mater, a short story publication in an obscure literary journal, and having received the 2004 award for fiction. You do that in queries. You tell on yourself that way. It builds cred.

So he begins his critique of my piece by mentioning the fact that there are no page numbers. This irritates him. (Well, I think to myself, if it was a REAL submission, I'd include them.) Then he talks generally about the query, which was pretty good. Then..... then he talks about the bio. He says, "Now this bio shows us exactly why it is a good idea to include a bio."


"Turns out," he says, "I went to THAT alma mater, was the editor for THAT obscure literary journal and won precisely THAT award for fiction -- only in 2003."

I wasn't exactly listening, but when he got to the end of that last sentence, I realized he wasn't joking. I blurted from the rear of the audience, "Are you fucking serious?" But I didn't say fucking out loud.

He was serious. So, after the thing, I approached him and asked if I could send him a manuscript. He said, of course. I'm interested.

I means nothing, really. Not in the scope of getting this thing published. But each little push makes the work seem worthwhile.

Random? I think yes.


Paula said...

Wow! May good things continue. :)

asha said...

Cool. Good on ya'. :)

Kristiana said...

that's really great! but you are missing out on the e.moreland annual yardsale... hope it was worth it

someone said...

dangit!! did you find anything good?? It is stunning over here. Full sun, warm. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Kristiana said...

i forgot it was happening and scheduled myself to work in the morning so i missed the good stuff. there was some reaaaaaly overpriced old-lady glassware and pie plates but mostly the good stuff was gone.

i got a bunch of clothes for Thea, some throw pillows -- one a really nice but slightly moth-eaten pendleton wool pillow with a giraffe and a zebra on it -- Clark scored an old steel coal shovel with a carved wooden handle ... it was fun, but picked over and a little overrated.

the beach was probably much more fun!