The Novelist’s Due – #2

First rejection of the Season

Friday the 13th, 2009

The day began with intimations of a sinus headache, which began as a tingling then turned into a full-fledged snaring of the sides and top of my head. It followed with the completion of finally getting the multitude of text edits entered into HUGO. For the time being we’ll ignore the chapter 11 rewrite that hasn’t been done yet.

After edits came a little bit of work work. Very little of it, as I had an early lunch with Richard V, down in Union Square, to talk work work. With both of us being budget-conscious yet hungry, we managed to stuff ourselves with moles, guacamole and salsas, a shared plate of carnitas, and more tortillas than either one of us should have eaten in one sitting. The tortillas are good at Colibri, so who can resist. (And who should, when the dollar doesn’t go far these days and there aren’t very many of them to be spent. Low-cost starch can fill the belly well.)

Carnitas from Colibri

Carnitas from Colibri ... (pic borrowed from their web site

Dearth of Enthusiasm

After lunch, I took a brief walk to my PO box in the Financial District. Mixed in with the various bills, past due notices, and a much-needed check (from Richard V, no less), was a familiar looking SASE. Beneath the pre-printed return address on the envelope I’d scribbled the name of the agent to whom I’d inquired about representation. As I stared at the envelope, hesitant to open it, I realized it probably was foolish to have used a work envelope with logo and pre-printed address. But that was the only #9 I had available, so wtf…

The envelope clearly had made no impression, positive or negative, upon the high-profile agent. I thought we could be a good fit, my flawed choice of stationery notwithstanding. There were connections that I’d gleaned from reading about her that I thought we could make. Connections I’d feared I’d risked making by giving her what was essentially somebody else’s return envelope.

Evidently not. Clearly my query hadn’t moved her. From the tenor of her response I suspect I hadn’t even scarcely aroused her. To her credit, the rejection was fast and enthusiastic.

Divisadero St, SF

Divisadero St, SF

Back to the salt mines

Don Clark and I had our writers’ afternoon that afternoon. That’s where we get together and talk writing, provide each other feedback on our work, and generally provide solace and a safety zone for each other with regard to our common affliction: the written word. Don is a published author whose book Loving Someone Gay, published 30 years ago, is now in its 4th edition and possibly headed for a 5th. Before that he was a talented fiction writer whose career trajectory might have gone the fiction route, except he became ensconced in gay activism and had a family to raise.

I showed the rejection letter to Don. He tweaked his eyebrows, handed it back, and recited a private tale of an agency encounter. That’s one of the many reasons we love Don: for his carefully edited and sometimes deliciously biting retorts, delivered like unsympathetic condolences.

So back to the salt mines it is. Brush up the query writing skills. Emote that enthusiasm. Live it, drink it, let it spill forth onto the page.

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