Saturday, January 29, 2011

Author X & Goldilocks

This time it was an emergency telephone call. When I answered I heard her panting. Thought at first it was my favorite obscene caller. But it was Author X. Desperately seeking sanity. Dangling on the edge.
"This time I swear I'm gonna do it," she told me.
"You're not."
"Yes, I am. Really. I'm about to hit delete. The entire manuscript is going to go up in technological smoke."
She's made this threat before. Happens every time she hits a dry spell. No agent interest. No writing inspiration.
"Think of all the hours you've invested in this project. Do you really want to give that all up?"
She blew her nose and the tears began. So did the song and dance - set to a blues beat. Woe is us - the chosen bunch who dare to think we can PUBLISH. Why, we must be mad, bonkers, complete and utterly loony.
Thing is, what else can you do when you simply have to write?
I let her cry for a while then I reminded her. That gun to your head is in your own hands.
You can pull the trigger or you can set it down and stop with all the pressure.
"But I'm like Goldilocks," she whined. "One agent says my book is too short, one says its too long. I can't seem to find one who thinks its just right. It's beyond frustrating."
"Listen. You're missing it. The very fact that an agent is looking and responding at all is porridge, kid."
So in the end she did not destroy the fruit of her labor. We hung up with her agreeing it might be time for a short mental health break. And maybe a fairy tale or two.
Once upon a time there was a little girl who wrote a little story...

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