Rumor has it that patience is a virtue. Whatever jackhole said that wasn’t waiting to hear back on their book deal.
Yes, it’s out there. I may have a book deal some time soon. Or later. Or maybe never. Such is the unending complexity of the publishing world and why all writers are anxiety-fueled cookies, with nervous tics.
I’ve been loathe to mention my book deal developments in public because of the staggering Jinx Factor and my horrific luck with the same, but I’ve decided that if I’m going to be candid about the rest of the struggling travel writer milieu, I might as well put this out there as well.
A few months ago, I was contacted by a literary agent. Her name is Bridget. From my former understanding of the process, in order to hunt down a reputable literary agent, one has to spend about half a lifetime researching, pitching, writing, begging, sending fruit baskets and maybe stalking a little bit in order bag this particularly elusive prey.
Furthermore, on those rare occasions when a ‘literary agent’ approaches you out of the blue, they are often shysters, who are very enthusiastic about representing you – for a price. Things like ‘reading fees’ emerge when it comes time to look at your manuscript and eventually the jackhole ‘agent’ reveals that you have to fund the book printing out of your own pocket – many thousands of dollars in most cases.
(You may have noticed that ‘jackhole’ is my Word of the Week. I love it. It means absolutely nothing and yet, when you hear it, you know instantly that it’s a put-down. Eloquent, no?)
So when Bridget dropped me an email asking if I’d maybe like to write a book about my life (far and away my favorite subject), my jaw dropped, my hair ignited, but I didn’t answer right away. Instead, I went to work on Google and Predators and Editors to get the scoop on her. But there was no scoop. In fact, P & E recommended Bridget’s agency. She was the real deal.
I picked my jaw up off the floor, extinguished my hair with a nearby cocktail and we got to work piecing together a book proposal that would stand out among the 385,039-some memoir proposals that are currently making the rounds in American publishing. After endless tweaking, we sent it out to a small selection of high-probability editors.
That was three weeks ago. Three weeks in real-time, that is. In writer-waiting-to-hear-about-his-book-proposal-time that’s the equivalent to several of what you Earthlings would refer to as ‘eons’.
And thus, I am forced to be patient. Heroically so.
Ordinarily I am not a patient man. I’m the opposite of patient, which you might assume would be ‘impatient’, but this term isn’t even remotely adequate to describe how powerfully opposite-of-patient I am. After I wrote the previous sentence, I went to thesaurus.com only to discover that, at this time, there isn’t a word evocative enough to encapsulate the disposition I’m shooting for here (this happens to me all the time), so I’m gonna create one; ‘ryscrozzie’.
I’m fantastically ryscrozzie. I’m ryscrozzie to infinity – plus one. I get ryscrozzie waiting for people to order their food at the burrito place or when children and old folks block the aisle at the grocery store… Someone turning left in front of me without signaling is grounds for a postal ryscrozzience episode.
So, I can’t really comment intelligently on the ‘patience is a virtue’ issue, as I’ve never genuinely experienced that particular sensation. I imagine that true patience is akin to a pleasant, zen-like state; maybe a warm field of long grass, where birds chirp, a creek gurgles, frogs ribbit and buxom, nurturing maidens massage your gluts.
The closest approximation to ‘patience’ that I can metaphorically achieve is sitting in the middle of an uncontrolled intersection in Cambodia, with two lit cigarettes in one hand and a five-shot mug of espresso in the other.
Obviously, that’s no way to live, so I rely heavily on the one and only effective substitute for patience; distraction. This works out perfectly, because I’m more easily distracted than a drunken puppy.
Take work. I literally cannot sit still for more than five minutes. This was particularly true while I was in Romania, where my ‘desk’ consisted of a rickety table that was about four inches above the ergonomic optimum and a half-busted, ass-punishing, wooden chair with nails protruding into my creamy white thighs.
It was quite the sight actually; a psychology PhD candidate would have hit the jackpot by simply training a camera on me for a few weeks. Me sitting down, typing three words, staring out the window for 30 seconds, realizing that I missed a spot shaving, getting up to attend to that, sitting down, typing four words, making coffee, sitting back down, deleting six words, getting up to peer out the window at the fight happening at the crooked currency exchange office outside my building… It was priceless thesis material.
So, the waiting continues. I’ve managed to keep the bleating emails to Bridget down to roughly one per week. We’re getting little morsels of status information from our prospective editors; one just got married and went on his honeymoon (probably won’t hear from him for months), another returned from vacation, worked five back-breaking days, then went on vacation again… I’m gonna have a coronary infarction before this is over.
I’m well aware that no one is going to give priority to a first-time author, pitching his laugh-riot, gripping memoirs – that will make Oprah lose all bladder control by the way – over, say, Dan Brown’s latest ‘Da Vinci Code’ rehash, so I’ve resigned to a long, agonizing wait.
But no one said that I have to do it quietly. After all, the line between ‘shameless blog babble’ and ‘building a buzz’ is delectably fuzzy. Moreover, as Paris Hilton can attest, sitting around, being modest in this day and age is for jackholes.