FYI 1: If you are a publisher of middle grade fiction, God is telling you to call me TODAY.
FYI 2: If you are in a positive relationship with a literary agent or publisher of the same, God is telling you to contact them and then call me. (Or vice versa)
54 days ago I submitted my children’s novel to yet another venue. The pattern is optimism followed by a submission, followed by fleeting confidence that This. Is. The. One. After a week or less, everything mellows to faint hopes which trickle dutifully until the rejections arrive.
This time a friend of a friend sent in a word for me, so this manuscript had at least a guarantee that someone would read it. “It may take up to six to eight weeks to get back to you,” said the woman who wrote me. She probably meant, “don’t expect a quick answer.” She probably didn’t intend a guarantee. But eight weeks is what she said.
Accordingly, I am scheduled for rejection or acceptance within 48 hours. (Any comments telling me it doesn’t work that way will be deleted. ) Rejection would fit in better during Holy week. Acceptance would go well with Easter. I’ve got decades of experience that say God doesn’t agree with my sense of rhythm. I mentioned it to Him anyway.
One of my struggling lads was stomping in gym class recently.
“I refuse. I quit. I hate it.” Etc.
I tried talking.
“I’ll be mad forever. I’m not playing,” he snapped.
“You’re going to be mad at me forever?” I asked.
“I’m not mad at you. I’m not mad at anyone. I’m mad at me. I’m no good.”
I was teaching a sport new to the class. New rules. New skills. No one was brilliant; it was hardly time to label lost causes.
“It’s just a game,” I said. “I think you’ll get it. But even if you never do, even if you turn out to be the worst setter in the history of volleyball, ever in the world, it doesn’t change anything about you. About who you are, or your value as a person. How you learn to move the ball is just fingers and leather and air. It’s not you.”
Currently, I am two people. One, certain that a publisher’s yes or no will answer important questions about me. The other, a student of underage teachers, observing their confusions and mine. The sun and the laundry mound will rise daily. Packing up tattered winter coats will feel good. And I will be me, regardless the fate of my book.
FYI 3: If you are God, I told gym class lad he was a worthy fellow with or without sports credentials, but I still helped him with his volleyball.