Tuesday, March 29, 2005

How I Got Here, Part 23


Thanks, y’all, for the comments yesterday. I know a couple of you had trouble posting at first. Becky, to answer your question—No, I didn’t pitch to any other editors that first year at Mount Hermon. I would learn how to do this by the following year to some interesting results (that story still to come), but not yet.

As I said at the end of yesterday, for the first time I couldn’t quit. But I also had something wonderful and ever-plentiful to fall back during this wrenching disappointment—God’s strength and encouragement. I knew I was doing the right thing. I knew I’d rewritten three books for His glory. Books that weren’t preachy, but carried God’s message of salvation. I could look back at the way He’d closed doors for me during the first 9 ½ years. They’d been purposefully closed, until He opened the right one. That had been true with my agent. It had to be true with publishers also.


Right?

Yes, Brandilyn. Right.

Okay, Editor B’s letter was crazy. So what if God had a quirky sense of humor when closing a door? Had to give Him credit—He’d shut it good and tight.

A word of defense for this editor. Today B and I are real pals, and I absolutely think the world of this person. We can talk and laugh together, and enjoy each other. B was not wrong in writing that rejection letter, even though to this day I can’t understand it. I really think what may have happened is that B didn’t read the entire book. Cast a Road Before Me has a heroine who isn’t a Christian, and who mentions in the beginning of the book how peaceful Buddhists look when they worship. Well, I guess if you stopped there, you’d wonder where the Christian message was. So, after picking myself up off the floor in that summer of '99, I clung to the belief that the rejection, strange as it seemed to me, was one of God’s more interesting ways of closing a door. Today, I can look back and know that this is true.

I had one more hope. Editor C.

Okay, God, I’m gonna trust You. If C’s a closed door, too, I’ll know that’s what You want. But, uh, could You just . . . please, please, please . . .?

I waited.

Dear readers, you have hung with me now for 23 parts. Do you realize we’ve been at this for over a month? It’s about time I got a sale, don’t you think? Have we not all agonized enough together over how long this has taken?

I waited. And prayed. And tried to prepare myself for another rejection.

One day I was sitting at my computer. The fax clicked on. A page spewed out. Another one. A third. What's this? My pulse did this odd little quiver. Almost as if it knew something . . .

The machine whirred. I watched the pages birth. They were upside down. But didn't that vague blackness look like a lot of writing on the other side? Then the weirdest thing happened. My body froze. I couldn't reach out and pick up even one piece of paper. Absolutely could not.

I sat like a stone, watching pages spit out. Click, whir; click, whir. My heart rattled into a dull thud. You know how people say when you die, your years flash before you? Trapped in my chair, tense-muscled and sputter-breathing, I saw the past 9 ½ years flash through my head. The hope, the tears, the determination. Days of plotting. Nights of writing until dawn. Watching the mail, trembling at the ring of a phone. The scenes zipped before me in a kaleidoscope of emotion and sheer dogged will—

The fax machine fell silent.

I stared at the pages.

Hey, Brandilyn, relax will you? So some solicitor got a little long winded . . .

I remember managing a prayer. Not a long one. Something desperate like, “Okay, God.”

Pulse scudding, I reached out, gathered up the pages . . . and turned them over.

--------------------
Read Part 24

8 comments:

Becky said...

I'd be interested to know about how and when you started teaching fiction writing at conferences--if you can fit that into the publishing story.

I am in awe--I seriously had no idea you had such an odyssey.

I'm glad you mentioned your good relationship with Editor B. Another important point for all of us aspiring writers to learn.

mrsd said...

Scudding is a cool word! :)

Becky said...

I'd be interested to know about how and when you started teaching fiction writing at conferences--if you can fit that into the publishing story.

I am in awe--I seriously had no idea you had such an odyssey.

I'm glad you mentioned your good relationship with Editor B. Another important point for all of us aspiring writers to learn.

I'm having trouble posting comments--hope this isn't a duplicate.

Kelly K said...

This is my second post also.....
AAAUUUUGGGHHH!!!! to computer snafus and Ditto to your story....I am amazed at your ability to turn every one of the 23 days into a cliffhanger. My fingers hurt!!!!!

I would love to hear Editor B's story. I wonder if "Drat! I blew that one!!!" is in there anywhere?

Love the blog - I'm totally sucked into it.

Ron Estrada said...

I feel silly. I get to the hook and wonder "did she ever get published?" It's kind of like stopping in the middle of "The Longest Day" and wondering if we won.

So, you're saying that the lessons we should take away are:
1. Be patient.
2. Don't burn your bridges.
3. Be patient (medicate if necessary)

Ron Estrada said...

Okay, now I've remembered my Blogger name AND password. Let's try again.

The lesson you're trying to convey to us is:

1. Be Patient
2. Don't burn bridges
3. Be Patient (medicate if necessary)

Karen said...

Your blog is captivating. Your love for suspense shows. Dead of Night was a great read, by the way. Your killer's musings are chilling.
Your blog also inspires me to keep on keeping on. Thanks.

C.J. Darlington said...

Ah, the cliffhangers! Yikes. :-)