Of either mice or men. It matters not. We are either fools who thrash about the universe attempting to change our fate … or we are part of the divine design and create our fate from sheer determination.
Although I have often played the fool, I cannot ascribe to the belief that I am to muck about waiting for divine intervention to deal me a winning hand.
I promised my good friend Christi Corbett that during the month of July I would discuss exactly what my plans for my work include.
How it began …
My original plan was to self-publish my first book and use that to gain the attention of an agent for the other books I wanted to write.
I set those plans in motion five years ago this month. On a sunny Friday morning, clutching my precious fledgling stories to my chest, I walked into the Parkland Library in Florida and joined my first writers’ group.
I didn’t know what a “hybrid” was. I had not yet learned of the negative connotation agents had towards those who “self” published anything.
In short, I was naive. Hopeful and happy to finally be doing what I had dreamed to do so many years ago … but naive nevertheless.
That first precious book was the beginning of a collection of short stories I connected under one theme and titled Sunset Park. And since that Friday morning, I have completed seven full novels, three partial novels, a completed novella, two collections of short stories and The Blog.
One year after I joined the Parkland group, I abandoned my idea of self-publishing and sent my work out in earnest. Every four or five months I sent out my work. The first three books, one novella and several short stories, flew through space to agents, publishers and literary magazines. Alas, they were rejected. This allowed me to qualify for the Pro status of RWA, and encouraged by Laura Drake, I did that two years ago.
Did I despair? Did I fall into a morass that it meant I was not a good writer and my dreams were foolish?
The journey continues …
No. I had evolved into a stubborn fool and plodded ahead against the odds.
One year ago, I made the decision to rewrite, revise and edit my first two full length novels and send them on submission to agents again.
Please don’t quote me the odds. I read all the same Writer’s Digest articles and Jane Friedman posts as you do. I am well aware of the “odds” of landing an literary agent in this climate.
My plans, however, do not include folding my tents because the climate gets rough.
Six months ago, I planned to promote this blog for amazon.com blog subscriptions. I followed that blueprint for three months and rejected it.
Next I had the notion of publishing a “blog” book. That lasted a full month and was also rejected.
And so I have come full circle. Back to that morning five years ago. Back to what I thought I knew instinctively was the best course of action for me. Back to the idea of becoming a hybrid, full time writer, blogger and amazing teller of tales.
Allow me a short detour …
I can hear my children moaning. My son was of the belief that my detours were planned to drive nails into his head. My friends believe I am incapable of telling a story without at least one or two detours. In a book they often become back stories. And we all know what we have to do with too many back stories.
But for today please relax and follow me into the organized chaos of my memory.
“I’ll give you chaos. Just wait until your father gets home.”
Yes, that was her again. My mother that is.
Some of us spend our entire adult lives trying to understand the neurotic relationships we had with various members of our nuclear family. I try to understand my relationship with my dead mother and fail miserably each time.
We talk or yell at each other across the divide, and like Will Robinson’s family, all sounds reverberate, lost in space.
I see us, pontificating, expounding and much to my continued frustration, never actually listening. My mother and I didn’t listen to each other.
But she was fun. She was complex. She had the best material for a kid to play make believe and if she were sitting here today, she’d surely smack me for telling anyone all of this.
From Sunset Park …
It could be said that Carmela Gallucci was a typical Italian mother. She was short, with a full figure and rounded hips, her hair was dark and long and she kept it twisted first into a braid and then in a bun at the nape of her neck, her lips full and blush, her eyes sharp and dark; eyes her children thought could see what they were doing from another room. She wielded a wooden spoon like a Samurai warrior and could hit her son Joey on the fly from two rooms away with her paddle slippers. She was no woman to mess with and she was anything but typical.
Our family might best be described as five satellites circling the globe, each having in common the shape and trajectory of our sojourn in this life, each representing a spec of cosmic dust. We traveled in the same orbit … that is I could see clearly there were other bodies in motion before and behind.
In Sunset Park I have told the stories of them … or my fictional version of them. Therefore, I am allowed to exaggerate, embellish, and wax melodramatic about anything at all.
“And if you tell tales out of school I’ll wash your mouth with soap.”
To keep my promise to Christi and to finally get to the point of this post … I have decided to follow up on my plan to become a hybrid and will put some of the short stories from Sunset Park together and publish them vis-a-vis amazon digital and Create Space for the print version.
Or at least at this writing that is the plan.
Do you believe in fate or divine intervention?
Have your plans gone astray or have you kept them on a single track?