At the family bbq, our kids were nosing around the yard, digging in the dirt and becoming fast friends as kids under ten do. This writer and I stood around as writers do, chit-chatting until we feel enough time has passed to discuss work. Generally the conversations go something like this:
Writer 1: So…what’re you working on now?
Writer 2: Oh, I uh, just submitted a new book to me agent and we’ll just see how it goes!
And then we talk about books we like and how difficult the business is and how tough the buying market and then back to kids and, since writers are often loathe to discuss plot beyond generalities, the conversation feels like a jellyfish – there but kind of tricky to hold on to.
But this time, we actually talked about it. It. You know the private shame we feel. Writing a book takes time. It takes soul and planning. And it you create without a contract you are working for free. Unless some publisher buys it. Yes, this writer has published books and so have I, but it doesn’t get easier emotionally. So we found ourselves with downcast eyes, hemming and coughing on our microbrews as the veggie burgers cooked, and we admitted it. “To be honest, I love my book, but it hasn’t sold yet,” I said. “Oh my god, me, too!” she blurted out.
Writerly rejection is like the erectile dysfunction of the literary world. Commonplace but no one really talks about it.
But the thing is, we both felt better. And because we felt better, we agreed to maybe keep tinkering with our novels. I went back and cut many pages I’d been holding on to and now the book is ready. Maybe I’ll get lucky and maybe I’ll limp home again, but at least I feel whole.
And so, whole carrots with thyme, the slow-roasting brings out the natural sugars, the thyme scents the orange flesh just right and you can snack away or serve with cold cucumber soup or just share.