The subtitle of this post is “How to Grow to Hate Everyone Who Sends You an Email Simply Because They Are Not One of the Nine Literary Agents and Sixty-Five Literary Journals You’ve Queried Recently.”
By way of background, and in case you’ve not heard (how that could be I don’t know, because it is my current obsession), I’ve sent off email queries to agents and a whole slew of stories to literary journals. You’d think I’d just be able to stop thinking about it now that I’ve got that stuff out there and get back to writing novel number two and maybe a short story, but nooooo. Instead, I’ve obsessed about these letters and email queries to the point that my relationship with my email inbox has changed. All day today, as I’ve waited for people to tell me that yes they’d love to represent my novel or take my story, other people — people I know and even love — have emailed me to tell me about spring soccer, or a girls’ weekend in San Francisco, or the most recent wonderful play at the Berkeley Rep. And when I’ve heard the little ping that announces an email I’ve thought to myself, YESSS. HERE IT IS. THE ONE! But it’s not the one (unless you count Subtropics Magazine who told me no thanks, but submit again, which my son wrongly took as a personal invitation to have at it on some other occasion, when it is obviously their way of preventing lunatic writers from killing themselves). Other than that, not a word — at least not from these strangers I’ve submitted my work to. And the sum total of my day is that I’ve taken no pleasure in the many lovely emails I received today from people I actually know.
The whole waiting thing is doing me in. It’s turning me into an antisocial weirdo. I’ve got to stop. Good thing I’m going to be spending the weekend at Dodge Ridge, where Charlie is racing and I am gatekeeping and there is no internet. No cell phone reception either, come to think of it. Nevermind that my friend Carrie and I have recently agreed that the definition of bleak should be: gatekeeping at ski race in blizzard. (A gatekeeper, in case you are wondering, is a person who stands on a hillside in a blizzard during a ski race and makes sure that the racers go through the gates rather than around them. You have to write things down, which means that your hands will become numb in a nanosecond.) Anyway, next time she emails me, I’m just going to be glad I have a friend like her: witty, kind, and not in any way connected to the weird thing that is sending your work into the world.
Have a wonderful weekend, okay? And email me. I need to return to the world of the normal.