Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It's in the mail

Well, today I finally gave in. I mailed off my entry to Lee & Low's New Voices contest. I say finally because, for some unexplainable reason, I procrastinated up until the very end. It's been ready to mail for about a week now, but I've been dinking around with it, changing commas, adding extra "ands" here and there, and even designing a cover to propose. I decided against the cover. I probably should have had it copy edited one last time but, oh well, it’s gone. And I did get myself completely flustered with some math issues. There are no consistent birth or death records on the subject I wrote about. I used three books as sources for research, and various online biographies. Birth dates, death dates, and everything in between was all over the place, nothing added up accurately. I finally decided to use the dates from one of my sourcebooks so that, at least, the story would be consistent with one credible source. I finally slipped it into a manila folder, and clipped it to a cover letter. I stuffed in the ubiquitous self addressed stamped envelope, and dropped it off at the post office.

It was all rather uneventful. I imagined a live 12-piece orchestra playing some sort of marching music as I stepped out of my truck, slamming the door several times because the latch is broke. As I would saunter into the post office lobby, I imagined, every head would turn in my direction, their eyes drawn to the envelope in my hands. They would want to know what I was mailing, and who I was mailing it to. To appease their interest, I'd explain my journey. I'd explain how I illustrated children's books. I'd explain how I suddenly had an interest in writing. I'd explain to them how I started two blogs as a means of exercising and developing my writing. Then I'd pull out my manuscript to a crescendo of ooohs, and ahhs, and gasps as I read them the first line from my manuscript. And their attention would be glued to my every word.

That didn't happen. Instead, I paid $13 dollars in postage to mail 6 sheets of paper, and a self addressed stamped envelope to a publisher half a world away.

Somehow, writing ain't no more glamorous than illustrating. At least not yet.

I plan to frame my first rejection letter.


The Archivist said...

Sometimes, reality doesn't match up with what we expect.

Susan Taylor Brown said...

Yeah, Don! Getting it out in the mail is often the hardest part. I'm really happy you went ahead and entered. If nothing else this experience gives you new insight into what the authors you illustrate go through. :-)

rindambyers said...

Don, you are a GOOD writer! You can even turn a trip to the P.O. into an adventure! Love, it, love it! When ordinary life turns into adventure...