Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Update: Biopsy and Books

Thanks to all you mice for the fortifying thoughts and wishes.  I took you right with me into that gruesome procedure. Unfortch, it didn't go quite as swimmingly well as hoped, but I will find out today if indeed they got as many cells as they need to hunt down any cancer. If not, I may have to go the hospital for deeper dive. Either way, I should know the scoop by this afternoon. I have a strong feeling that everything is going to be nice and healthy in there. And if not, the good news is that I am truly one of the lucky ones to have very good insurance and access to medical experts. So, we will therefore carry on.
     As for, Agent 99, I have to say my overriding feeling is one of relief. I've been on pins and needles for a year, trying to become someone I'm not, trying to make my book something it's not, just so she'd send the blessed thing out. That was not a winning combination. I might as well have been back in my family of origin; I was never "good enough" for those freaks either. No more of that, mice. From now on, it's pretty much going to be take it or leave it. I'll wait until I have a real editor before I mess around with the book again. In the meantime, I'm going to let it hibernate for a while until I can get a clear thought going about what to do with it next re: going back to the original or keeping the version the genius rejecting agent says is muddled.
     In the meantime, I've had a kind of breakthrough with my non-fiction book. I think I'm going to get it together as a proposal and see if I can start there. It is the most commercial, marketable thing that has ever happened to me (disinheritance). Then if I get some bites, I can work backward through my unpublished opus: the novel, the collection of published fiction, the book of published essays, the other nonfiction project. (Don't you love the word "opus"? So much better than "evidence of wasting one's life.")
     So that's the scoop for now.  How about if I embed a nice little rejection in the middle of this long post, just for fun? A loyal reader sent this one from Ashley at Bateau Press, where the tag line is "Lit to float your boat."
So sorry if you received a response that told you your work was out of our scope. Ugh! New system quirks: we didn't realize it was sending that email out to everyone. Just disregard it. thanks! ashley
We all make mistakes, ashley. We all really do. Peace out, for now.
UPDATE: They didn't get the cells. More medical barbarism is needed. Unlucky in literature and diagnostics this month. Not sorry to see September go.  


Tena Russ said...

I know what you mean about relief! I felt the same way after I was given the mushroom treatment* by my former agent. It took several months of complete silence on her part and depression on my part before I summoned the courage to tell her I would have to "step aside."

Hoping to hear good news about your biopsy.

*Kept in the dark and fed sh*t.

Anonymous said...

Ach, bizarrely had a similar experience re. cancer-maybeness and rejections.

I found a lump, and had no insurance in America. I go home to my country of birth, where healthcare is provided by taxes. I schedule a check-up, hoping for cyst, as I am rather on the young side for this type of cancer.

Just before I go in for the tests, my agent gives me word of many editor rejections for my novel. It's not entirely tapped out, but it's getting there. The agent wants my next book to be more marketable. I worry.

I go in, get scanned and prodded. It's not a cyst. It's a mystery lump. I worry more. So I get to choose, biopsy or waiting to see if it grows. On advice I choose the latter. If I'm waiting for the rejections, I might as well wait for possible cancer too, right?

My every sympathy, and I hope you turn out hale and hearty.

I'm being anonymous here as I haven't told people about my possible-C.

Cari Hislop said...

I hope you hear good medical news without having any deep digs. And good luck with your disinheritance story. Having the last lucrative laugh...priceless!

Mr. Resignation said...

"trying to become someone I'm not, trying to make my book something it's not, just so she'd send the blessed thing out"
Yes, that's what you did. Would you let a doctor operate on you who didn't have qualifications? I personally don't trust the sensibilities of the agents and editors I've had dealings with.
I say write according to your own beliefs; at least you have your self respect.
Of course, what are the ambitious author's options -- except to cater to the gatekeepers (even if they're idiots). But it's demeaning!
"I'll wait until I have a real editor"
Good luck finding one.
I hope the health problem is easier solved than the getting published one.
BTW, I call myself Mr. Resignation because I've bowed out of the fray. I just won't do what I'm being asked to do by the establishment. In a previous comment I advised you that "not making it" in today's literary world is not so hard to accept as you may think.
Your health is the top priority.

Id said...

Oh man. Bad news about the biopsy. It sucks for sure but I'm glad you and your doctors are on top of it.

Anonymous said...

Dear WR, I wish I could send you a personal note of well wishes rather than just a blog comment...but maybe it's good because I'm forced to be brief.

1. Laugh. life is totally absurd, isn' it? God willing your health exams will turn out fine. The good wishes of your blog readers will count.

2. Inure yourself to what agents (and sadly, even editors) say. I learned this from editing my book to "please" my agent and then getting a horrible editorial letter from my young editor (after they'd bought the book) basically taking me to task for making all the edits the agent suggested. They don't know squat about literary fiction.

Perhaps they can edit "to the market" -- tweak very strict-to-genre fiction ("A car chase here would be great, John") but even that usually is better written when it's spontaneous (i.e. Turow vs Patterson).

Think of it this way -- you now have the fruits of a very long writing workshop -- multiple versions of a novel you love. You can mix and match among them to come up with the draft that you love. I'd advise doing this before getting involved with any more agents or editors (i.e. literary charlatans).

3. Learn. Next time, don't wait a year to hear back. Give any agent or editor an ultimatum of time ("I would really need to hear back by X date in order to commit to an exclusive", etc).


Linda Zinnen said...

Take care of yourself, WR.
You know we are all in your corner.