Once upon a time there was a girl who won a national essay contest in a popular women’s magazine. Besides some very generous swag (that included a year’s supply of makeup and ginormous Publisher’s Clearinghouse-style checks and real ones she actually cashed), she was gifted with a conversation in a swanky NYC bar with an agent who expressed all manner of enthusiasm about her writing.
Surely this girl had been blessed by faeries upon her birth. An agent! Who loved her work and liked her idea for a book about her father and food, and who wanted to read more! The girl was giddy and got right to writing. She churned out a bunch of essays in a pretty short period of time and sent them off, breathless with expectation, to the agent.
The agent thought they were good essays. She thought they were publishable essays. But she didn’t think they were part of a book. Yet.
The girl decided to sulk for a while. Then she decided to have two children and give half of her brain over to exhaustion for the next eight years. She kept writing, kept believing in the project, hearing the agent’s mantra of “narrative arc, narrative arc” repeating in her very dreams for years.
She worried very much that she had blown her Big Opportunity.
And then one day, the girl’s friend, another writer, said to her, “Hey, don’t you have an agent?” And the girl said, “Oh, I don’t think so. The last time I heard from her, she sent me a cheesecake for Christmas–at least five years ago.” And the friend said, “What are you, INSANE? Write to her! Now! Send her a damn cheesecake, dammit!” And the girl asked if the cheesecake was a metaphor or not and the friend said, “Cut the crap! What in hell do you have to lose? Do it!”
So the girl, who doesn’t like to be yelled at, internet-stalked her old agent, found the email address for her agency, and sent a note saying Hi! and Remember me? and I’m still writing that book if you want to see it…
And the agent wrote back that of course she remembers her and would be absolutely delighted to read it and to please send the first three chapters pronto!
And bells began ringing and birds began singing and the girl danced around happily for about five minutes before she said, “Oh SHIT! What if it’s not ready? What if she still doesn’t like it? What if everything in the world sucks and everyone hates me and my writing FOREVER?” (This is not Disney-sanctioned tale.)
And her husband said, “Snap out of it! Get that shit together and send it. Do it! Now!”
That girl’s got some good friends, eh? And a lot of work to do this weekend before hitting “send” on Monday.
And a sudden craving, it must be said, for a certain silky-delicious dessert…