I told Paul yesterday that I keep hoping I’m going to wake up and feel fierce and sassy again, but so far, no dice. Oh, ruts are wonderful, aren’t they? They wash everything around them in a blah grey haze.
The obvious thing is that the agent passed on the memoir. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise (and thus, shouldn’t sting? I don’t know about that.) as my vision for the book hasn’t really changed all that much from the last time she saw it. I still favor a more lyrical, associative style; she still wants what basically amounts to a novel in memoir form. She was kind enough about it. Said she admired my writing, that it is “beautiful” and “lyrical,” but also closed the door firmly with the statement, “I am not the agent for you.”
This was the disappointing thing, I think. She said she couldn’t “see the whole,” and I am saying, “Of course you couldn’t; you only had the first three chapters!” I was really hoping she would be intrigued enough to want to read the rest, that maybe she’d be able to see what I have in mind in a more concrete way. What I need right now is an editor. Someone who has both the interest and the expertise to read the thing and tell me if it works or doesn’t and make suggestions for how to go forward. That also requires someone who has faith that the book should exist in the world in the first place. And I’ll admit it: over the last few days (oh, come on, years), I’ve had my own doubts.
Here’s the thing: I know I’m a good essayist. In some ways, it’s easier for me to inhabit that form than even poetry. And I know there are readers who have wanted to hear my stories. That much has been made clear to me. But I also know that this project has taken up the majority of my creative energy for the last eight years and I am drained. Paul worries that it’s sucking me dry, that I have no love left for the writing. (see Bilger, P. Philosophy dissertation.) I don’t know. I can’t honestly tell if I’m just being petulant about it in the wake of rejection or if abandoning this thing is really a viable choice.
Rejection. For writers, it’s the air we breathe. I’ve gotten pretty good at living with it (a chronic condition!), but lately, it just seems to be everywhere. This is a lunatic statement, of course, given the fact that we’ve had this wonderful news from Kattywompus (for which I am so grateful, to which I am clinging like a life boat), but you know how that grey wash can seep into everything. Rejection from job. Rejection from agent. Rejection-cloaked-as-acceptance in the whole BlazeVOX thing from two years ago (which has been stirred up recently by a writer who had a similar experience to my own. Google it if you want to.). I’m even thinking forward to the inevitable rejections that will come from the job search I am currently undertaking.
Yes, I can hear myself. Yes, I know I need to snap the hell out of it. I need to find my sassy. I’m trying to figure out how to do that.
And I’m taking suggestions.