I wish I could be more like her sometimes. She's had to deal with kidnapping, deportation, assassination, yet she absorbs it all and still says what she believes is true, not what will make her look good to the public. She gave up the search to find her daughter after many years, believing that her daughter would come to her if she needed a mother. "Mothers are not supposed to give guidance," she said in 1998. "Children should do their own thing." Seriously?? She let John "do his own thing" when he strayed, but he did come back.
She believes in art for art's sake, without caring what anyone thinks of her as a woman and an artist. Her work is disturbing and yet comforting. It can't be figured out. She makes us look at the empty space in her paintings and go outside just to study the sky.
I have trouble following her path to inner peace. I guess I am too "Type A." I rest only when work is done. I need to know where I am going on any given day, what phone calls I need to make, and how much writing I need to do. I have been told that in getting my manuscripts published, I "dot every i and cross every t." Is that a bad thing? Only when I become so manic that I drive myself and Charley crazy.
I just attended the Florida Writers Conference for three days. I have a manuscript ready to be sold - A Survival Guide for Grown Children with Elderly Parents (Who Still Have Their Marbles). I rewrote it twice over the summer and then three editors read it, each from a different perspective. I tweaked it each time I got their suggestions. In preparation to pitch to an agent at the conference, I prepared a bio, a query letter, a synopsis, a proposal, a flash drive of the manuscript, and a hard copy of the manuscript. I practiced my five-minute pitch twenty times, assuming the other five minutes with the agent would be her questions.
An agent takes an average of five new clients a year. That's from among the 80-100 query letters he receives EVERY WEEK. If he likes a writer's query letter, the agent will ask for a proposal for the manuscript or a partial manuscript. If he likes the partial, he'll ask for a full manuscript. Which doesn't guarantee representation. But at least his request saved the writer on round two from becoming "slush." This process can take many weeks.
Experience made me choose a skirt, jacket, and low heels to wear to the interview. I wanted to look professional, since I'd had a television interview in 2009 when Minor League Mom was released, and I'd taught back in the dark ages, when teachers couldn't stand in front of the classroom in shorts and sandals. Outside the interview room I saw young writers going in to pitch in jeans and flip flops. Why can't I be more like Yoko Ono? I asked myself. It's my work that will speak, not my clothes.
I stayed fifteen minutes with the agent I'd chosen, and we talked about a lot in common - sports in the family, teaching - as well as about my manuscript. When it was over, I shook her hand and thanked her for her time. Her other hand held my proposal and a completed manuscript. Maybe it's better to be me.
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.