October 7, 2010

This will not be an uplifting post full of optimism.

This will not be a brave attempt to put a smiling face on a cloudy thought.

I am lonely. In the midst of all the stress and craziness that has been my life for the past three months, my loneliness has become blindingly, achingly apparent. Aside from my husband, I have no kindred spirit with which to connect. I absolutely hate when my husband asks if I would like to get out or take up a social activity, because I'm embarrassed to admit even to him--even though he already knows--that I have no one to go out with. So when he asks, I just mutter something, or say "I'll think about it," and end up staying at home. Like a hermit.

The last good friend I made was two years ago when I lived in South Carolina. She was around my age and had some education. When we got together, we talked for hours. But she struggled very hard with depression, so she rarely went out. Heck, sometimes she rarely got out of bed before mid-afternoon. And then my husband found reason to despise her husband, so hanging out became too awkward. The situation deteriorated further when she and her husband became influenced by some hardcore Christian fundamentalist doctrine--the same kind my husband and I had been trying to get away from for the past few years. Needless to say, the friendship dissolved like bubbles in a pond.

When it comes to making friends, I seriously wonder if I'm just too picky. Is it too much to ask that I have someone close to my age? Married? Educated--or, at least, intelligent? Funny? Interesting? Emotionally stable? Ambitious? Loyal? Heck, if I could just find someone who hit four out of the eight, I might consider the search a success. But it seems I always end up with the dysfunctional ones, or the ones that are too soon 1,000 miles away.

Ah, so much of the world is lonely.


October 4, 2010

I queried nine agents last night to represent my first novel, and I think my eyes might bleed. Querying agents is probably the most stressful thing an author ever does. You can cry reading passages of your novel, then as soon as you sit down to query, it seems everything you have ever written is utter, boring dreck. You think, "Who in their right mind would accept this?" You want to suddenly hurl your manuscript into the nearest bonfire, forever away from the eyes of the literary world, except that manuscript represents five years of work and a potential advance large enough to pay off your student loans. And your husband would kill you for throwing it out.

So you write a query. And rewrite it. And rewrite it again. You send it out while agonizing over every single word. Literary agents are notoriously picky. I read their blogs, so I know. Does my query have too many adverbs? Is my bio a turn-off? Should I have spent less space describing the plot and more space on how the book fits into the literary genre?

If I spent the next two months perfecting my query, I still wouldn't have answers to these questions. The only test of its quality is to subject it to the rigid scrutiny of people who hold all my pitiful hopes in their dry, meaty hands. If it fails, I'll tweak it further and start the whole miserable process over again--just to find someone who will love my novel enough to bring it into existence.