Saturday, November 21, 2009

Woke up this morning to discover that I had been composing an introductory chapter to my book about being an obsessive rereader, a book that I may indeed finish someday. This morning, however, I did not leap out of bed and attempt to transcribe my dream introduction. It seemed better to blink at the leafless maple framed in my window than to throw a Kubla Khan wrench into my manuscript. Prose, unlike poetry, usually doesn't vanish during hiatus . . . another odd difference in the forms' creative impetus and in the brain's (at least my brain's) storage interests. In fact, it often seems better to hold off on the prose, to let it brew in my head. Otherwise, I start getting flippant, and anyone who reads this blog already knows I have more of that weakness than is really ideal.

But I know why I'm dreaming about the obsessive-rereader manuscript: I am at the point of taking the large, unknown step of talking to an agent about it. I have never talked to an agent before, or sent anything to an agent before, or had anything to do with an agent before, except to occasionally listen to other people wail about (1) not having one or (2) having one. Only recently have I heard (3) "my agent is fabulous and you should talk to her." As of now I am not talking to this agent, merely dreaming about her, but that is a first step. My general pattern, when faced with the scary unknown, is to wince and procrastinate and then, suddenly, with furious energy, to whip together a proposal in the space of an hour and hurl it into the post office. This is a more successful strategy than you might guess, if only because it saves the angst step until after the envelope has irretrievably passed through the mail slot. When the angst step appears before the mail-slot step, bad things tend to happen.

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