This weekend was spent in preparation for Nationals. My pedicure appointment wasn’t until 8:30 and I found myself driving around my hometown to kill some time (I hate being late for anything so I always end up with time to spare).
My tour around town brought me to a road I haven’t traveled in a while. St. Louis Canal Road isn’t in the most scenic part of the parish. In fact, it’s right next to the sewage treatment plant, but it’s one of my favorite roads in town.
Weird? Yeah, but there is a reason (there’s always a reason). For the longest time, St. Louis had the biggest dips of any road I’d ever been on. If you didn’t drive the exact speed limit, you were airborne for a bit. When I was a kid, the fun was to hold your tongue between your teeth when taking the dips. Stupid? Hell yeah! But it was fun!
When I was a teenager and driving myself, it was a challenge I couldn’t resist. I’d drive faster to see how much air I could get. That sensation of going up and coming down with a jolt was an adrenaline rush I couldn’t ignore. I wasn’t the only one who did this, by the way. It was sort of a rite of passage for all teenagers (and grown men who felt the need to strut their stuff).
But this time when I drove the road, I was sad to see that the Parish had finally smoothed out the dips. Oh, they’re there, but less pronounced. On the other hand, my 33-year-old mind was thinking it was for the best. My nephews drive and I wouldn’t want them to hurt themselves on the dips I took as a teenager.
The road made me think about writing. It changed just as my perspective of it changed, just like my thoughts about writing have changed since I became more focused on becoming an author. I was excited, thinking everyone would be clamoring for my first manuscript. Why wouldn’t they? It was awesome! Then the rejections started coming in.
I was a little more wary the second time around, but no less excited. The second manuscript was the best ever! My writing had improved so much, it was bound to attract attention. And it did. Then I got The Call, only to find out that The Call wasn’t solid. My manuscript is still out there in Editor Land awaiting judgment, but the chances of it being picked up are low.
I’m on my way to Nationals with no manuscript to pitch, but I’m not worried about it. In fact, I’m relieved. The dips and bumps of a conference have been smoothed out for me without any effort on my part. I can relax and enjoy myself rather than worry about pitching to every person I see how resembles someone in the publishing world. Yes, I do have another manuscript, but I’ve decided not to pursue publication for it. It was something that needed to be written, but I don’t feel the need to have others read it now.
Instead, I’m going to concentrate on meeting new people, learning as much as I can, and working on the WIPs I started last month. They’re both new roads for me to travel down, one something I’d never considered writing before and the other a story to appease my humorous bent. I’m happy in spite of the fumbled call.
So for my friends planning to pitch this week, come find me if you’re feeling nervous and need to talk. If you need to practice your pitch, I’m more than happy to listen and offer tissue if you have a nervous breakdown. We’re on this road together though the dips and bumps on our roads are in different places.