Monday, January 17, 2011

a fork in the road

This week I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. In just a couple of days I leave for NYC and the Writer’s Digest mega-conference where…if I can work up the nerve…I’ll pitch The Bandaged Place to a couple of agents. It’ll sound something like this:

“What would happen if a physician, of all people, submitted to a double mastectomy for an aggressive form of cancer and discovered too late that it wasn’t cancer at all? What if her records had been switched and it wasn’t a mistake? What if her own surgeon betrayed her? In The Bandaged Place, the cure is worse than the cancer.”

I hope that piques your curiosity. If it does, I’ll go on to explain how Dr. Kate Tilton proves that her surgeon has been able to tamper with medical evidence in order to justify aggressive surgery in otherwise healthy patients. And how he has racked up a fortune in surgical fees from his unsuspecting victims. Not likely? Think again…or read the book!

So…preparing for this conference has involved polishing and printing out the synopsis and manuscript pages…in case anyone is interested…as well as creating business cards, reviewing the websites of all the agents I hope to meet with, and memorizing my ninety second pitch. Ninety seconds! That’s all you get…for a 275 page novel!

It means traveling alone on the train into the city (which I haven’t done for years), and pretending to be self-confident and out-going when, for the past three years, I have been cloistered at home over my keyboard, agonizing about how hard it is to write a novel and how slow I am at it. Suddenly, I am expected to be witty and talkative and smiley with total strangers. I hope I can pull it off.

I feel as though I'm approaching the end of the journey, with a completed manuscript ready to go. In truth, it’s more like reaching a fork in the road. Either I’ll meet with success and move on into the publishing process…or I’ll be starting my next book while this one molders in a drawer somewhere.

The point is that you don’t always get to choose which road you take. Someone else may decide for you—an agent (or lack thereof) if you write or a producer if you perform or the director of a gallery if you paint. The goal is to keep the creative spirit alive and active no matter where talent or hard work or pure luck takes you. Wherever you go, enjoy the scenery. Look ahead! There…what do you see? What can you imagine? Imagine my surprise when I saw this picture of my dog, Famke, on my son’s facebook page:
 You never know when or where talent will emerge and flourish and take your breath away. I’d love to take some credit for Dominic’s artistic ability…genetics, or something…but I have trouble drawing a stick figure. So…just as I have pursued my own passion, I’ve simply encouraged him to follow his…and it seems to have worked. Check out his facebook page for an awesome display of his work…and I’m not just braggin’ 

Are you ready to pursue your passion in life? Who will encourage you?
“The creative mind plays with the objects it loves”
--C. G. Jung--
In my next post I’ll tell you how things went in NYC.

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