Good Heavens

My wordpress dashboard has a place where you can save up your draft posts for a rainy day like today — and I just noticed that I have sixty four such drafts, which I find astonishing, because I can’t remember writing any of them. On closer examination I realize that the reason I can’t remember writing them is because, well, I didn’t. I just made up names for posts and then went away.

I see that recently, I was going to give you something called “All Good Things Come in Threes” (what good things might those be? I’m guessing food) and something else called “Hot Kitchen Tips!” (wash berries by tipping them into a bowl of water and then swishing them around?) and another called “Marie Antoinette goes to Versailles.”

That one I remember in some detail: I believe it was going to be a travel recommendation to those who go to Versailles. My suggestion, as I recall, is that you skip the interior of the place, particularly if you are there with children, because the lavish interiors of all such places all look precisely the same: lavish. And that can bring on the kind of boredom that makes children want to break through the velvet ropes and push the spindly little chairs over. Instead, and particularly if you are there in the summer, you should head straight out to the nice cafe by the lake, the one that I think is probably named after Marie Antoinette. There, you should eat ice cream and admire the chateau from the appropriate distance, as I am sure Marie Antoinette probably did in her time. And then you should stop at the gift shop, buy a nice ruler with a picture of the chateau on it, or a pencil with the same, and go back to Paris, without a moment’s guilt about skipping the whole interior.

It is, alas, not summer here in Berkeley. It is cold, and it has been raining for what feels like my entire life. It isn’t the same as London cold and rain, because things are blooming here, spring being programmed to begin on February 1st in Northern California no matter what. The magnolia tree in our front yard is sporting fat, wet blossoms, but no greenery, and the princess plant resists any suggestion that spring might not actually be here, even though it too is wet and windblown. Still, good for them for insisting that what they expect should happen, will in fact occur.

Me, I’m inside, doing a task that I’m finding surprisingly fun, although I’m not so sure if it’s a good idea to expect anything to come of it. I might have mentioned that I sent off two of my stories to a lot of journals, and am bracing myself for the inevitable flood of rejections. That not being enough, however, I’m also putting together a package to send to agents, including an agent the nice people at that prize contest I entered suggested I speak to. I figure if I’m going to contact one person with a query letter I’ve sweated blood to create, I might as well contact another dozen or so with the same letter.

Looking for an agent is a little like internet shopping at an upscale website when you’re totally broke. You want everything, and you know that isn’t likely to happen. Still, a rainy day like today needs a little of that kind of fantasy. And if you, like me, happen to be looking for an agent for your fabulous book, this website has a really, really good list of them. Just don’t query anyone I like with your cold war mystery, the one that’s set in Bavaria in 1969, okay? Those agents are mine!


13 thoughts on “Good Heavens

  1. If I ever make it to Versailles I will remember your advice 🙂 Good luck with the agent query letters. I wouldn’t be surprised if they all responded back to you with offers of representation!

  2. What a nice woman you are Stefanie. As for Versailles, I believe the advice to skip the chateau and go for the cafe has wide general application to many of the world’s attractions.

  3. I’ve had the very same experience looking at my dashboard, bloglily! ‘What the heck is that??’

    I re-read a couple of them (though I didn’t have anything near your 64) and left them, like money in the bank.

    Good luck, too, with your agent search!

  4. Good luck with your agent search! I’ll bet you’ll have them hammering on the doors soon and forming a disorderly queue!

    When I was little and decided I wanted to be a writer I kept a book of the titles of books I would write. I ended up with over 2,000 titles of stories I never wrote a word of.

  5. Well, I hope the inevitable (because a writer should always be misunderstood by someone), character-forming rejections are small in number, encouraging in tone and set the stage for the one golden glowing sun of a letter that really counts!

    One piece of advice (still waiting for the golden glowing sun myself) I was given which I’ve never acted on is to really target the agents you want, ring up and pitch them. And pitch them hard! Never had the nerve to do it myself, mind…

  6. When you say it is cold and rainy, how cold is it then? I mean I live here in northern Europe, and I am guessing it is a lot colder here. Certainly no trees are blossoming just yet, will be another few months I think. And I long for it to happen;-).
    Good luck with your hunt, hope you will succed.

  7. Hmmm. Never thought to use that function on the dashboard in that way. But I often get good ideas (??) and let them slip away because I do not write them down ANYWHERE! On a recent trip to Peru, I took to carrying around a tiny notebook and scratching things inside it that I wanted to write about later. I may keep that habit. Then again, I seem to be on the computer more these days….

  8. ruler, yes. pencil yes. But i’d prefer the kind of pen that has something that floats up and down behind plastic as you tip it…presumably NOT the guillotine, although as soon as i write NOT, the 10-year-old in me thinks that might be very cool. Perhaps a swan on the lake?

    …ps, don’t give up on the question you asked me…it’s in the works.

  9. Good luck for the agents! Writing a satisfying query letter is already a great step forward.
    Your 64 drafts remind of the dozen greatest-ever first paragraphs of short stories that, hem, remain to be written.
    As for Versailles, you’re absolutely right. Most lavish rooms inside are empty anyway — or rather, overcrowded with tourists and their cameras. Just don’t miss the vegetable garden, that is France’s finest, with a lot of ancient and otherwise lost varieties!

  10. I too wish you much luck w/ an agent. I think it is definitely one of those “you’ll know it when you see it” type of relationships…Wishing you the best, LK

  11. Good luck with your submissions and agent search! I also have a folder where I keep all my post “starts” – they often end up like yours: a title or a few keywords, and a smattering of thoughts to be joined with prose at a later date (that is, if I find them again). 😉

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