Is there a wardrobe that leads to Publicatiania? (a tornado to The Agenterald City? pixie dust to Never Rejection Land?)

my uncle (left) and my dad (right) at Disney World

“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?

13 thoughts on “Is there a wardrobe that leads to Publicatiania? (a tornado to The Agenterald City? pixie dust to Never Rejection Land?)

  1. Oh, yes. Unrealistic dreams? Oh, I am KING of unrealistic expectations and dreams. They’re so far gone I’m too embarrassed to mention them specifically.

    And I’m with WW — that’d be an awesome closing line for a novel.

  2. It just doesn’t seem likely to me that he took you on his only date with this lady. Do you really take your child on a first date? Maybe things were different then, I dunno, but it sounds like you really liked her.

    I’m a dreamer, so I’m inclined to believe that anything’s possible and to never give up on your dreams. If you get there, there’s no reason to come back! And yes, that is a great ending line for a novel you have up there!

    1. Oh no. He didn’t take me on his first date. Hmm. I may have to rewrite this! I meant, he claimed they’d been on only one date, all together just one date and that was that. I was thinking they had dated, you know, several dates, and then broke up. I remember going to her condo and her coming to our house–which seems unlikely if they’d gone on just one date. But that’s his story and he’s sticking to it. And why would I have loved her and remembered her all this time if it had been one measly date? But I don’t know. I was little.

      I’ll keep on dreaming–crazy or no. Thanks, Darcs.

  3. I think of getting published as kind of like being an anorexic. Whatever weight an anorexic gets to, it’s never low enough, it has to be lower. I think with publication, no matter how much I publish, I will feel like I’m not a good enough writer, that it wasn’t a good enough journal or a good enough publisher and that I should have/could have yadda yadda. Ridiculous, I know.

  4. I dream of getting rid of social anxiety completely. It wil never happen and I’m not sure I really want it to. After all, the opposite extreme means being totally insensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others.

    So I dream of getting published and of giving readings and talks to promote my book. I can do the readings. I can even do the talks. But will I ever be able to handle the spontaneous conversations before and after. I doubt it. Still, I’ll probably never find out.

  5. On February 20, I’m scheduled for a 9-5 one-unit class, “How to Get Published,” and for which I have copious notes, as well as suggestions which may be practical, even rational, and a sheaf of rejection letters to balance out the acceptances, but I do not have an anecdote as elegant as your blog entry, for which this humble request for permission to quote.

  6. I must have screwed something up with Google Reader this week — missed this post when it was current. (Fie on you, Google Reader. I stab at thee.)

    As you know, I’ve already got my name on the covers of several books… not a single one of which I really wanted to have written, in the sense of feeling like I “owned” or was invested in their stories, genres, styles. I’ve got exactly one book, the WIP, which fits that sense of being “owned” by me. Scares the crap out of me that it may never be published. Scares me so much that I don’t let myself think about the need, at some point, to “sell” it to influential, overworked strangers who have seen — if not everything — an awful lot of other books.

    1. If you’re going to stab at Google, I suggest the second “o.” The heart might be there.

      How about if we changed that to overworked strangers who have seen a lot of awful books. So won’t they be happy to see something good at last!

      You can face that fear and do it anyway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s