“I remember you dated a woman who lived there,” I said. My dad was driving us past Orchid Springs a maze of condos behind cypress trees and Spanish moss. “She was from England.”
“It was one date,” my dad said.
I sat in the backseat with my child and husband. I wanted to say, “But her name was Beverly and I was five. She had candy in red wrappers on the piano in her condo, she held my arms and spun me around in our yard, we took her to the train station to say goodbye and I cried all the way home.” I wanted to say, “I wanted you to marry her. She had a British accent.”
“Oh,” is what I said. I remembered her short blonde hair and the feeling of air between me and the ground when she spun me over the grass. It was a long time before my dad introduced me to another girlfriend. There is still this child that thinks–if you’d married her, Dad, we could’ve gone to England. ENGLAND! Narnia and Middle-Earth! The Hundred Acre Woods and Never Never Land! And through the looking-glass and up in castle towers with spinning wheels or dancing shoes and we never would’ve met your second wife…
One date? Am I to believe that?
I write, edit, write, and edit. I research agents. I read about query letters, about the publishing industry, about new books published. I listen to interviews with authors. And still I think PUBLICATION! As if everything magical is there. If I’d just written a different novel or queried different agents, I wouldn’t be so crazy.
When a hurricane threatened our home (way back when I was five or six), I used to put all my toys in my sleeping bag and crawl inside with them. This way if I got carried to Oz, I wouldn’t need to come back. I’d be ready to stay, because what idiot comes back?
But sometimes you have to admit that knocking on the back of every closet you meet isn’t going to open to a door to a secret world. The odds of getting an agent to open the door to the world of publishing may be slightly better, but the results will probably be less dramatic.
What did my dad think when his only child kissed him goodbye and said, “If I get there, I’m not coming back.”
Do you have unrealistic ideas about publication? What do you imagine publication will do for you? What do you hope for? How crazy a dream is it?