Yes, you heard me right!
I'm in a highly indignant, devil-may-care, potty-mouth kinda mood. And forgive me for my passive aggression because I know you don't even read this blog. (Ergo: if you are reading this, please be assured it is not aimed at you!)
The thing is, I got tired of waiting. Tired of the unanswered emails. Jeez, I even join facebook so I could ask you the same set of questions in your preferred format!
Granted, my family's gastro pandemic was not your fault. So the fact that I was unable to buttonhole you in person during session four of our five day course cannot be blamed on anyone. But I did email you to find out what I'd missed. And I did offer to take you out for coffee and cake, so I could thank you for your time in filling me in, and in anticipation of feedback.
I signed up for the course that you run deliberately so I could get some feedback on the unfinished manuscript I have been sitting on for well over a year. I was given to understand that this was appropriate and encouraged and, as far as I could tell, everyone in the class was doing the same.
Apart from a short classroom review of my first two pages, this didn't happen. Having emailed the Word document to you three times and given you a hard copy once in person, I really was beginning to despair.
Because all I wanted to know was: does it work? Would it be worth submitting it to a publisher? [Subtext: would you be willing to send it through to the publisher you work for and have had several books published by? Acknowledging that it would be a pretty big ask and certainly beyond the call of duty as far as the course was concerned.]
I guess I should be embarrassed. It has taken me until September 29 to finally say SCREW YOU. It has taken me this long to stop and really question why I was prolonging the inevitable. Because the truth is, I know the answer to both of those questions. And they are both resoundingly YES.
So, dammit, I finished that manuscript. And I submitted it to Penguin today. Yes, that's right! P-P-P-P-Penguin! They accept unsolicited manuscripts in the Children and Young Adults category. And if there's one thing I have picked up in your course, it's that there is actually a dearth of books for pre-teenage boys (that girls will read too) with a distinctly Australian flavour. And mystery and suspense are pretty hot right now. Think Diary of a Wimpy Kid without the Americanisms and without the cartoons but with a sinister supernatural edge. My stuff ticks all the boxes.
And you what I love about this?
I mean, apart from the fact that I finally stopped making excuses and finally stopped seeking validation from someone else when I had the resources all along?
Penguin has their own SCREW YOU clause. That is to say, if I don't hear back from them by 29 January (at the absolute latest) I can rest safe in the knowledge that they think my manuscript stinks and they never want to hear from me again.
And, if that's what ends up happening? Well, I'll just pick myself up by the bootstraps and send it somewhere else. After all, we've all heard the story about how Penguin rejected Harry Potter on the grounds that the language was too "old fashioned" and they didn't think anyone would be interested in wizards.
But I realised something on September 29. And that is: even if this manuscript gets rejected a thousand times, I'll still be better off than where I was on September 28. Because up 'til today I was still waiting for something resembling divine intervention to get you to talk to me and to make me feel good enough about myself to finish this thing. Imagine if I'd been hit by a bus on September 28, never having realised what I already knew?
Anything seems better than not knowing: even rejection.
Of course, having spent the best part of the day working on whipping the manuscript into shape, writing the synopsis, and crafting a pitch letter and brief bio, some telling behaviour emerged. A sink-load of washing-up, two loads of laundry, a sparkling kitchen floor, and a thousand apologies to my husband for being such a dunderhead I didn't have a clue what was for dinner... well, let's just say that my guilt and worthiness issues will keep my therapist in beach holidays for many years to come.
But that's a post for another time.
For now, just let me say, once again. Screw. You.
Oh, and just quietly: thank you.