I get fantastic ideas sometimes. And, from time to time, I act on them.
Like the time I decided our family should drive six hours north over Labor Day weekend and go to Family Camp at Covenant Park Bible Camp where my husband and I met and sleep out in a tent. Trouble was, the neighbors at the resort across the road had the fantastic idea that they’d play Johnny Cash at full volume at three in the morning. Their great idea outblasted my great idea by a long shot and now I cannot hear “Ring of Fire” without feeling cross and tired.
Or the time I thought I’d make lentil soup with the leftover ham bone after Easter, only I’d put a brown sugar and mustard glaze on the ham and the soup tasted like a melted lollypop. There have been three meals I’ve made in 18 years that ended up in the garbage. That was one of them.
And then there was my idea to write a book. Okay, it’s still a fantastic idea, it’s just that it’s like this neverending process, this eternal journey of editing, editing, editing. I know I’ve fussed about this before, but it’s been awhile so I thought you might like an update!
Yes, I’m still working on getting it published. Yes, an agent has looked at the beginning. No, she did not jump up and down and tell me I’m just what she’s been looking for. HOWEVER – and this is fantastic – she is willing to look at it again if I make a few changes. Four, in fact. All of which are HUGE.
I won’t bore you with what those changes are. Suffice it to say that they require a great deal of re-writing. A great deal of chopping out bits which I worked hard on, which I liked, which I was proud of. Which, as any writer will tell you, feels like the death of an imaginary, 460-page-long child.
I once wrote a poem in college entitled, “Killing My Babies” which was about this exact editing and chopping process. Have I mentioned this poem before? Perhaps so. All I know is that it feels like a little murder every time I send those babies to the land of deletion. I loved those lines! I loved that image!
And so, I sit down at my computer and don my hard hat. My hard-hearted-hat. My umpire’s uniform. My butcher’s apron. And I go to town.
In case you’re wondering, I am not changing my entire book (and life) merely on the whim of one agent. For sure two of the things she mentioned as needing work were things that had been nibbling at the back of my brain as possible issues. I know they need to be fixed. I hadn’t thought of the other two issues she mentioned, but I can totally see her point.
And so, I work. I told her I’d get back to her next fall. Is that a realistic goal? I think so. Yes, it feels like a long time away, but I have three flesh and blood kids who also need my attention. Who also need a little pruning, molding, and loving.