Most creative people will admit, if they're honest, to a certain neurotic cycle. They write, paint, compose or perform and filled with the wonder of what they've wrought, pronounce, "I'm awesome. A true genius. Love me, for I am talented." Then, stepping back to get a better view of their gift, they notice the flaws and suddenly it's, "I suck. I'm a moron. Ignore me, for I am deluded, maybe even demented."
This weekend, I was teetering in the middle -- right on the fulcrum of awesome and awful, naturally, because timing is everything. This was the weekend I had the great fortune to spend a few hours with Ms. Brilliant Literary Agent at a workshop she was presenting. I was excited to hear her insights on the industry and anxious to get her feedback on my work. As she went down the checklist of what agents look for, the voice in my head was saying:
I'M AWESOME, I've done all of that.
As the list continued:
I SUCK, I'm way behind on all of these other things.
And on that note, she wrapped up and told us to line up and she'd read what we'd brought her. Since the space was small, it was hard not to eavesdrop on the six people in front me. Ms. Brilliant Agent was kind and polite and pointed out things that needed to be fixed in the nicest of ways.
As I waited, I pictured my time with her. Reading the words I'd worked so hard to hone, her eyes would glaze over, she'd start to shake and pea-green vomit would shoot out of her mouth onto my work right before her head started spinning. Yep, definitely SUCK mode. And really, "The Exorcist" daydream sequence? Trite and overdone. I was sinking into MAJOR suckage.
Just as I was desperately looking for the emergency exit, she called me over. She was smiling, gesturing for me to sit down and chat. I handed her my pages and gave her my one sentence pitch explaining what the novel's about. She read the first paragraph. Without taking her eyes off of the page she said, "Perfect!"
Then after the second graph, "Fabulous!"
Could it be? We might be teetering back to the A-word.
Halfway through the third graph she looked up at me and said, "Is this a finished manuscript?"
I'M AWESOME. The look on her face says she wants to see the whole book! Sadly, it's nowhere near finished, but I promise to contact her when I'm done and hope that there will still be space on her client roster. She doesn't want me to change a single thing. Every bit of feedback is positive. She smiles again and tells me, "Happy Writing!"
That's when I see it, a Cartier-crafted, Tiffany-bejeweled staircase rising to the firmament. I float past levels one through eight, reserved for less lofty celebrations. I arrive on Cloud Nine and an unctuous waiter escorts me to the cushiest of VIP booths. The discreet sign on the table says, "Reserved for literati only."
"Champagne, please," I tell the waiter as I settle into a cozy haze of golden feedback. This place is so floaty and fun, I never want to leave. The warm glow is quickly interrupted by a voice from way, way down there, back on Earth. It starts low and then rumbles into a deep laugh and the voice gets louder. It's definitely coming up my golden staircase and getting closer and more disruptive.
Then, there's Mr. Smite, floating over to my exclusive booth.
"My Sweet, you know I adore, you, but..." I point to the sign, "this booth has certain restrictions and while I'd love the pleasure of your company, I'd hate for you to be embarrassed when the waiter has to kick you out."
He smiled, "My Pet, that's not going to happen. That phone call was to let me know I've just won First Place in a Major Fiction Contest." Forget MILF, he's my Sweet VILF, Very Inspiring Literary Flame.
I catch the waiter's eye and raise my champagne flute, "We'll need another glass and please keep the Veuve flowing. We're going to be here awhile. And could you please ask the band to play something uptempo?"
Life is Smite-y Good!