How it’s going

Forty-seven queries. Started last February. There have been lots of lapses but still, that means it’s been a year of looking for an agent for my novel and coming up empty-handed.

Today: a new record. An agent rejected me THE DAY AFTER I sent my query. No wonder I identify with the cruddy, soiled, forlorn-looking toy kicked to the curb!

Paris Collage Collective for this week — digital and paper collage

And I keep getting sidetracked. I’m doing ANOTHER RUN THROUGH and am on page 87 of 200+. That’s edits of edits of edits. I keep an eye on word count, subtracting unnecessary words wherever I can (they’re everywhere).

In other news, birthday celebrations are ongoing! I kid you not. A friend is taking me out for dinner tonight and in March, two other friends and I will see a play together. Yet another friend ordered me a birdbath, which is not only generous but puts me in mind of spring!

From our room at The Porches, in North Adams

K and I went to the Berkshires for two nights which was mostly fun (falling on the pavement near MassMOCA was not fun, to be specific, and the falafel at our first dinner was inedible). But otherwise! Fun.

View from The Porches

We enjoyed staying at The Porches, a funky inn near MassMOCA, and for our dinner in Lenox, we lucked out with a table at a popular Italian joint. I had cod topped with sautéed red peppers and artichoke hearts atop the biggest pile of mashed potatoes I’ve ever been served (garlic infused). There was a mass of wilted spinach too. Yum!

MassMOCA: A moving piece about student debt

There were times when I thought the structure was cooler and more interesting than the exhibits.

Perhaps more on that tomorrow.

13 thoughts on “How it’s going

  1. Marti

    Three words, NO TE RINDAS, do not give up. Famous New Mexican saying that grace is found of but these words were also spoken in my Spanish home. I truly believe that the right agent is out there, one who will get you, get your contribution and the gift of your novel…

    Lovely birthday festivities you enjoyed (garlic mashed potatoes, cod in any form makes me drool because I grew up with eating this) and how special to have more celebrations to look forward to

    Now then: I came to give you a link that my daughter Shelley just sent, re Black History, from an old NPR article from back in 2008 but found this new blog entry but decided that I should give you this. It is a hard read because it did happen and in your research you may already have come across this but it was new to me as it was to Shelley and absolutely startling:

    “In Slavery by Another Name, Douglas Blackmon of the Wall Street Journal argues that slavery did not end in the United States with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. He writes that it continued for another 80 years, in what he calls an “Age of Neoslavery.”

    “The slavery that survived long past emancipation was an offense permitted by the nation,” Blackmon writes, “perpetrated across an enormous region over many years and involving thousands of extraordinary characters.”

    The ending notes of the article is so poignant and goes right to the heart:

    …”Some of that story is in fact lost, but every incident in this book is true. Each character was a real person. Every direct quotation comes from a sworn statement or a record documented at the time. I try to tell the story of many places and states and the realities of what happened to millions of people. But as much as practicable, I have chosen to orient this narrative toward one family and its descendants, to one section of the state most illustrative of its breadth and injury, and to one forgotten black man, Green Cottenham. The absence of his voice rests at the center of this book.”

    1. deemallon Post author

      Thank you Marti! One of the best sayings I’ve heard is: racism doesn’t disappear, it evolves. The point that slavery continued after the Emancipation Proclamation is a sound one. You remind me that I have that book on my shelf. Maybe it’s time to read it?

    1. deemallon Post author

      Thanks Jude. Mostly the process is like dropping packages down an elevator shaft. An echoing clunk is all that comes back. The actual critiques took time to work through. Both came around this time last year so I’ve had time to sort out what the thought legitimate and what not. I have addressed several of those critiques in the intervening year.

  2. Nancy

    Dee~ Many Happy Birthday Wishes to you!!
    I can’t imagine your kind of bravery and ability to ‘not’ take things personally, but constructively. A round of applause for you for this part of your journey. Hang in there…as I’m sure you know, many published authors had been turned down numerous times first.
    Write, Revise, & Rise!

    1. deemallon Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement Nancy. Your and other people’s support make clear that novels might be written in isolation but are born in community.

  3. Liz A

    I can’t help but think of Madeline L’Engle and the dozens of rejections she got for A Wrinkle in Time … but ugh, the slog must be soul-sucking

    so please continue to have a decadent birthday season to balance the malaise … (artichokes on mashed potatoes … yum!)

    1. deemallon Post author

      Thanks, Liz. The stories about writers and their rejections cut both ways. Just saw someone who’s book was bought who spent ten years querying it. And it’s not that unusual.

  4. Saskia van Herwaarden

    yes, keep at it Dee, I for one am a fan of your writing! and I have become quite picky over the years;-)
    (belated) *******happy birthday*******


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