All this week, I kept thinking, "What shall I write about? What will be my first blog of the new year? I need for something to happen!"
Be careful what you wish for.
My new-found literary agent, Agent J, phoned me a few days ago with some unexpected news: he's no longer going to be working as an agent. Ruh-roh. He's finding it difficult making a living off of commission in the close-fisted, defensive environment the publishing world has become. Especially for fiction. A few other job offers in a related field have appeared, and he felt it best to strike while the proverbial iron was hot.
The timing is unfortunate. I have been finishing up my edits, cutting down the manuscript by more than 20 pages, so that we could send it out to publishers by month's end. Choi, the illustrator, has also been working hard on finishing the second graphic novel section so we could have about 2/3 of the illustrations completed for perusal— a goodly chunk. So close! So now we're in the position of being all dressed up for the prom, but with no date to take us there. Where's Duckie when you need him?
(Doug, referencing a much more current movie, suggested that I should have bitten Agent J on the lip. Kinda hard to do long-distance. But would it have made a difference, Agent J? Would it have?)
Agent J feels pretty bad about the abrupt departure, and I completely understand that he needs to do what he needs to do. He's offered to pass along the manuscript to a colleague of his at the agency, so there's that possibility. And the book is in better shape than it was when Agent J took it on, so I'm in a good position to be in should I have to begin the search again. Choi feels very positive, and I have her amazing work to bolster mine.
Maybe it's for the best. Agent J was far too good-looking; it would have caused endless distractions, I'm sure. That is, if we were ever to have met. In Chinese astrology, Tiger Years can be full of tumult and change; it's how you react to them that determines your outcome. Since I'm a Tiger, I need to just leap over this setback and spring onto something new.
And hey! I've got a title, now: This is How it Begins.
The morning after I got the news, I was walking the dog up a hill, and got a chance to see the sunrise. It was all pinks and lavenders, glowing and fresh. Hope personified. Houses, trees, rocks, everything was enveloped in this warm, vibrant light. Bright orange flowers formed themselves into arrows, pointing up.
This is How it Begins, indeed.