So I went to check my mailbox today. In it was….
1. A proposal with a cover letter that starts with the words, "Firstly and most importantly…"
2. An incoherent sci-fi book proposal (even though it says clearly on my website that I don't do sci-fi) that was something about children, dogs, demons, and a white vase. No idea what the story was, although I'm sure it had deep meaning.
3. A proposal from a guy whose mailing address is a correctional facility.
4. Two action-adventure novels, neither any good, and both sent to me by people who haven't spent five minutes on my website to figure out who I am or what I'm looking for. One began with the words, "Dear Agent." The other had my name, and began with the words, "You probably won't like this, but…"
5. A nonfiction book by a guy who claims that to become a Jesuit priest you have to murder a protestant (um… I'm not making that up).
6. One very nice card from an author.
7. Random business crap (apparently every bank on earth wants to offer me a credit card).
8. A letter from the AARP. NO KIDDING. THE AAR-frickin'-P! Like they think I'm old or something.
9. Two new books I represented — Lisa Samson's wonderful new novel RESURRECTION IN MAY, and Chad Gibbs' hilarious look at the role of faith and fanaticism in SEC football, entitled GOD AND FOOTBALL.
10. And a letter from a woman who sent me an unsolicited proposal for a book about her abortion. I sent back a short note saying that the book she's created won't sell, that there's no market for the book she is proposing. Her response was to send me this note:
Hatcheting? Demolishing slowly? Destruction? Is that not your very identity? Your cruelty oozes. Do you perpetrate this innate meanness onto other writers? You haven't so much as read my work; yet audaciously, as though a God, predict its death. How dare you! You should be immensely worried about who you are. There is no call to be gross and ugly toward those who submit. Has your speck of position in the Universe ruined you so that you treat subordinately those who come to you with their hearts wide open for acceptance, and encounter your attempts to destroy their precious sensitive dreams? Your behavior does not go unnoticed by a Power higher than you. Believe it or not, Chippy, you're a pebble, like all of us. There is no reason to leave a cruel path behind your life; except that it must in some distorted way satisfy you; and that speaks volumes about the state of your being. By choice, you attempt to wound, and my knowledge of such things is that what you give, you receive in return. When it comes; remember me. Meanwhile, I shall continue to market my book. However manners and kindness are garnished into a life, is where you absolutely need to be.
Wow. Yes — how DARE I reject an unsolicited idea that was sent to me! It gives me a god-like feeling to say to an author, "Nobody will buy this book." I am Chippy — FEAR ME! Of course, I was completely impressed with her purple prose. And, as you can imagine, deeply wounded by her calling me "Chippy." (sniff. honk!) So now I feel terribly guilty for having told someone who was basically asking me for my opinion that her book won't sell. From now on I'll only say nice things to people about their books, no matter how bad they are. Even if there's absolutely no hope for a project, I'll just look at the author and smile and say, "Fabulous! You are God's gift to the writing world!"
Okay, not really. I wrote back and told her she might not be tough enough for the writing biz yet. And she may want to check into counseling.
11. And while I'm on the subject of stupid people, have you noticed the new marketing tool companies are using of dropping random notes into the "comments" section of a blog? I recently got this comment after my post about writing conferences: Your blog picture, I like it very much, so have a pure heart, the children stood in the bustling fidgety city.
At first I thought he'd been smoking his crack pipe while reading my blog, then I realized his address was "Buy Viagra." It fits it well with the other two recent comments I've had: The house is the place for you people! With it we are free from sun and wind! You speak very good! It enjoys popular support! Now we all need a house! and Keep up the good work. I fell in love with the wood tables and wanted them for my school.
< p>I was thrilled to know we are free from sun and wind, and I'm sure the wooden tables are great, but since my post had nothing to do with either topic, I had to wonder what possessed these people to write. Both of these come from morons pushing Air Jordans (probably in fidgety cities). I think this is a great new concept, since all of us online are totally interested in seeing people drop by to sell us products. We just don't get enough of that on TV and radio and via internet commercials.
12. BUT, if you're looking for some places where you might actually go just to enjoy the writing, let me suggest you visit two sites. www.jennybjones.com is the website of YA author Jenny B Jones, and it consistently makes me snort coffee through my nose. www.lisamckaywriting.wordpress.com
is the site for Lisa McKay, an Aussie who has lived all over the world, but has just moved to Laos and is chronicling her new life. It's literate, funny, and very well-written stuff. Both authors have won awards for their writing (Lisa is the author of the cult hit MY HANDS CAME AWAY RED), so check them out.
It's cloudy and in the 60's on the Oregon coast today. We just haven't had the scorching summer the rest of the country has gone through. Maybe I'll walk down to the beach and contemplate my speck of position in the universe so that I can be nicer. In my next life.