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    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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I’m Tired, I’m So Tired, Tired Of Waiting For You

Today, dear readers, I decided to make pitch calls  to a handful of movie people instead of just sending an email. My heart was pounding even though they could all be considered good acquaintances. I realize how much I hide behind email, how second nature it’s become. I think I get one hundred emails to every ten calls. I heard about an agent in LA who only uses the phone. I like to imagine it’s a dial phone. Why does that seem radical? A few years ago, I made a vow not to use email for difficult conversations. That lasted for about six seconds.

Okay, phone calls made, scripts launched. I don’t think I made a complete ass out of myself, but who knows? I’m in what I call free-fall-denial-hope mode. This is where you jump off the Empire State Building and half-way down think you might actually make it.

What do you feel like you’ve when sent out your work and you’re waiting? How ugly does it get and how do you deal?

32 Responses

  1. i work on something new.

    don’t ask me how i sleep. i don’t sleep. i wait for morning in a half-assed doze. to quote Batty: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die.”

  2. As I recall, I give myself a whole day to imagine fame and fortune, mark the date when I should start worrying about insufficient postage and/or spam filters, and try like hell to pretend I didn’t sent anything out at all.

    But it’s been a while.

  3. The first day is the worst: second guessing the turn of a particular phrase, praying the delivery method doesn’t fail, peeking into the mental box of hope and considering What If This Is It?

    Then the real world intrudes: the dog gets into the trash, Day Job clients morph into the devil’s spawn, the toilet overflows. By the time the rejection letter (email or snail-mail) hits, I’m able to just sigh and add it to the folder.

    If this routine ever changes, I’ll let you know.

  4. Free-fall-denial-hope mode. Love.

    That’s exactly what my WIP feels like.

  5. I’ve got some work out now. I love the wait. Something to look forward to other than the usual lot of whining children and well of dirty dishes.

    • Yay. Something for me to look forward to too. Soon.

    • Me, too. I have a proposal with agents now and some other pitches out, and I feel hopeful. I always feel hopeful, I always think it’s going to hit. I’m the world’s only perpetually optimistic cynic, and “the triumph of optimism over experience” is my inadvertent motto. I also have four kids, which I think is not unrelated.

  6. I feel hopeful, ever hopeful.

    I’ve been at this creative writing game a long time. My chance to be the next hot young thing, so beloved of the market with its shackles and barkers, is long gone. I keep at it anyway, because to quit now would be to say I’ve wasted my life. So I go on with eyes wide shut and tell myself sweet little lies. That’s how ugly it gets.

    I deal by doing the work. There is no other option.

    • Think of Norman MacLean, with hopes of being the next hot old thing. Or am I just deluding myself by thinking the market is not geared toward the young, beautiful and gifted? If I’m wrong, I’m shit out of luck.

  7. It gets very ugly and I don’t deal well. My brain freezes so I can’t work on anything new. I do mundane stuff. My house becomes ridiculously clean, which is good since it gets pretty horrible when I’m writing.

    • Yes! I forgot about that part. Every time I get rejected, or get a less than stellar response to a submission, I get on my hands and knees and scrub the black grime from the kitchen floor. What the fuck is THAT about?

  8. My family knows that once the submissions go out, momma’s got a brand new bag.

    Mommy is ineffectual and distracted, and might pack boxes of dried pasta for lunch, but on the upside, it’s time to raid the chocolate drawer and load the airsoft rifles because she’s not in a state to notice what the hell anyone other than the agents she’s stalking online are up to.

    My husband decides to work longer hours and bring work home, and then ignore me when every other sentence is another iteration of “Did you know her last deal was not just nice, but significant?” or “…today she tweeted that she’s working from home. What do you think that MEANS?”

    I’m 5′ 7″ of distracted narcissism.

  9. Ah, the waiting game. Hopeful I’ll get the call from my agent saying an editor loved the book and has made an offer. I look at this level as a glass overflowing. Until a pass comes in. It’s then that I need to know why, why, why and then agonize over the why and hope it is a unique reason only to that editor and not to others. And then repeat. I dream of being published. And wait in hopeful anticipation of the day I get the nod. And hope and hope. ‘God, give me the strength . . . “

  10. I write. I have one novel waiting, two more novels under way, and I write six short stories a year for an area newspapere magazine. Keeps me busy and out of the bars.

  11. Rejections delivered snail mail are the worst. I used to get excited when I saw an envelope from an agent in the mailbox, but soon I learned it was not a good sign. Emails have held some hope, but I’m still waiting for the phone call.
    Once I send something out I take a deep breath, one of those here goes nothing sighs, and try to fall back into a normal routine.

  12. As I read the horribleness that unpublished writers go through waiting for agents to say yes or editors to take on their books, I think how it never gets any better. Even after you’ve landed an agent and been published several times, it’s still the same ugly feeling.

  13. My Ms. Lerner, but are you ever timely.
    Yesterday I turned in my memoir to my editor and my agent. Then quickly popped a Xanex and took a slug of leftover wedding champagne.
    I live in N. Michigan. No tall buildings, so had to go with the pill and the bubbly.
    Cheers!

  14. I’m on submission right now. I feel sick, obsessed…afraid. Also completely stupid for allowing myself to get so completely caught up. I mean, even with an agent, there is the very, very real possibility that it still won’t happen with this book. Double all of that because I don’t talk about it with anyone. People in my REAL life don’t get it and I don’t dare make a peep online for fear that an editor who may be interested decides to google me only to find I sound like a crying, sobbing high needs mess–yuck.

    The seemingly never ending spiral of “Almost!” and “Like not Love.” “Wonderful writing…but” The buoyed hope and near misses is making me want to scream and worst of all….I can’t write. I can hardly even read right now. Talk about not wanting to share THAT with anyone.

    Waiting when you can’t see the front of the line is this slowest most fucked up of torture.

  15. That’s what wine and chocolate are for.

  16. Oh, I just run A LOT. I’ve been waiting to hear back on some queries for a book I really, really love. It’s torture waiting to see if someone will love it as much as I do. So, I’ve been running. A ton. It’s no short coincidence that I have a marathon scheduled this weekend.

  17. Can’t decide whether it was better in the dark ages or not. You know, when you got the typewritten rejection on onion skin? I like to objectify and revisit my correspondence with the literary powers that be as a way to manage expectations while I wait.

    In my archives, along with every pregnancy stick I ever peed on, I have two folders. One says “good news” and one says “you suck.” Guess which one is fatter?

  18. My first rejection, and I think I haunted the mail box, didn’t want that story but wanted to see more of my work. I was thrilled. She actually read it! The query process today is so dispiriting. I couldn’t get my hopes up over it. I write in a notebook when it went out and when the rejection came back. It is kind of becoming dissassociated with my wrting. Besides, as a previous commentor stated, real life is overwhelming. My writing is my opium dream.

  19. Every day, every hour, I live with the fact (screaming in my head) that the hardest thing I will ever do in my life is die.

    So believe me, I hardly bother to worry about rejection — or acceptance — when I send out a manuscript. Because whatever happpens, it’s not as bad as dying. Not close. It doesn’t even feel risky.

    And, in my limited experience, by the time my manuscript is ready for an editor, I’m so damn sick of the thing that I don’t give a shit what happens, as long as I don’t have to return the advance.

  20. I was a wee bit nervous (heart attack level) about an in-person pitch. I thought I couldn’t possibly feel worse. Then, strangely, I was asked to send the manuscript. DREAD set in. It was all of the anxiety but combined with a sense of pre-failure.

    And then … the awful waiting. Weeks, months. As you get older and older and the gap between you and your target audience widens and your face becomes even less fresh. And people ask, nicely enough, what’s happening and you explain these things take time and friends give you that patronizing “well keep at it sweetie” look, because yes, writing little books will keep you busy in your golden years.

    The only cure is to start another project and to continuously talk (to anyone who will listen) about how those people who rejected you will rue the day they passed you over! mwahahah! RUE THE DAY!

  21. Lots of dark beer, chocolate and whining to my other writer friends about how the writing life sucks.

  22. Next book on to the next book. I put myself in the new world of next where anything is possible.

  23. I deal with the waiting period by submitting many things to other markets and writing new material. I got a novella accepted for publication while trying to deal with the tension of waiting for a particular agent’s response. 🙂 (And then the agent signed me, so it was like a double-win.)

  24. It seems I’m like a lot of people here. I remain ever hopeful for about two days, worry about whether or not it’s gotten to where it should for two days more, and then I either completely lose my shit or I scrub the house to within an inch of its life. I envy those of you who keep writing. I sympathise with those of us who start drinking. Anything where my writing involved makes me anxious even just sending in writing samples to become a contributor on a blog. I wake up at 2 am wide awake thinking…why haven’t they responded? So sometimes email can be a curse too, especially since it does seem to be the main way people communicate. I have a hard time believing that everyone doesn’t check their email obsessively like I do.

  25. Free-Fall-Denial-Hope Mode: not just for breakfast anymore!

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