Friday, June 22, 2007
Only One in Size 9
I got my first agent at a book party when she admired my hemp clogs and asked if I'd buy her a pair. I tried, but the store in Brooklyn had only a single size-9 shoe, instead of a pair, and the hemp factory in Vermont had gone out of business and wouldn't answer the damn phone (story of my literary life). So, I wrote the agent a beautiful little fax about the lonely marsh-green hemp clog in her size. She called me up immediately to see if I wrote beautiful novels, too. "Yes, novels!" I said. (I was working on a lyrical one from college, which she sent out twice for me, but it wasn't done and it wasn't going anywhere). She signed me as a client and encouraged me to write what was in my heart. But years later, she seemed pretty depressed when I showed up with a beautiful collection of linked stories. "Stories are unsellable," she said. Needless to say, I was depressed enough about the state of affairs in publishing without the added weight of her disappointment. We shed some tears together and parted ways. She never even saw the new manuscript.