Hello again on this rainy Sunday morning. I can almost feel the pores of the hard-packed earth absorbing the moisture, yielding to gentleness. The rain gentles both the ground and us today. And so I’m thinking again of how the word fascinating gentled my own held-fast inflexibility with regard to my opinion of all I wrote.
All that is except for Dulcy’s first book—A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story. In 1989, Dulcy gave me our story; I simply edited her words. Because she, not I, wrote it, I believed in that book from the beginning.
In fact, two days after she began to channel it through me, I stood in the doorway to my Stillwater office and said, out loud, “This book is going to be published. And it’s going to be published by Crown. And it’s going to touch the lives of many people.”
I just knew, deep down where Oneness and certainty dwell, that Dulcy’s book was a gift not only to me but also to the Universe. For almost two years I never doubted. Never that is until rejection letters from editors piled up. Then doubt crept in. Believing that I’d failed Dulcy, I felt guilt over my inadequacies.
In April 1991, a letter from the editor Jane Meara arrived. Fifteen months later Crown published the manuscript. It touched many people’s lives and continues to do so.
But that was Dulcy’s book, not mine. And as the years passed, publishing changed. An agent became a necessity and the rejection letters once again piled up as I sought representation for my writing. Any certainty I’d ever had fled.
During this past week, I’ve considered that one word—fascination. I know it’s the view I now have of my writing. But I think it’s also affecting how I’m crafting my query letter for The Reluctant Spy.
Slowly I’m realizing that my lack of confidence may have tinged with doubt any query letter I sent out during the past twenty years. Perhaps the words I chose or the tone of the letter indicated that my manuscript was somehow lacking in something essential for representation and publication.
A long-time friend once said to me, “What you send out into the Universe, Dee, is what returns to you.” Perhaps in those letters I sent out doubt, and the agents turned down representation because they doubted that my manuscripts were well done or would have an audience. I’ve sent out doubt and doubt has returned to me.
In her comment on last Sunday’s posting, Inger wrote,
I sense your self-confidence here. A bit different from the past and, yes, fascinating. I believe that a strong belief in your novel, in that it is not only good, but also fascinating, will find its way into your letters to these agents. And they may start to worry if they don't respond, maybe someone else will, and they will lose out on a major novel. Dee, I have no idea where all the above came from, but came it did, so I will leave it there.
To which I responded . . .
Dear Inger, I am so grateful to receive these words of yours—wherever they came from. Just this morning I said to a Minnesota friend that I thought the query letter I was crafting was different from those I've written in the past. Why? Because I'm different: I believe now that I can write and I believe in my writing. And so my attitude has changed. I'm hoping this newly discovered confidence will be apparent in the query I send out. You've just delighted me with your comment. Thank you, Inger. Peace.
So there you have it—how one word can seep, gently, into the pores of a person’s life and bring change. Once again I thank Fran for that word. And I thank all of you for sticking with me through this process. I’m still working on my query letter while compiling a list of agent names to whom I’ll send it. I’ll keep you in the loop! Peace.