I’ve had almost a month to sit with, fret over, and muddle through this time as my book has been up in the air. There’s been ample opportunity to read, write a few more Choose Your Own Adventure books with my boys, and take a little jaunt to South Carolina with my sister.
I’ve also had plenty of time to work through a number of blog posts that could have been written especially for me. Many of you have seen them by this point: Natalie’s post about the silent agony of fifteen months on submission, Beth and Michelle’s posts on comparisons, Jody’s about jealousy, Heidi’s on unfairness, and Bethany’s on the slow journey to publication.
And I’ve heard more: local author Kimberly Griffiths Little, who after publishing three books sold nothing for eight years. Mandy Hubbard’s years of rejection. An author whose publisher closed a month before her release date.
These past weeks have humbled me — not that I’d been strutting around in an I-have-a-book-deal! fashion before now (I hope). They’ve shown me how fortunate I’ve been to have a few people take the time to validate my work and teach me how to improve it; they’ve reminded me of the tumultuous nature of the publishing industry and the fickle taste of the market. I’ve had to come to the very real conclusion that my book might not be published next year alongside the people I’ve worked with and grown to love these past few months, that it realistically could be homeless for a long time. Or forever.
In the midst of the struggle, I was reminded by a 2k11 classmate about the theme of my book: surviving, overcoming, trying when you’re not sure of the outcome but pushing forward still. A little girl who doesn’t even exist has yet again displayed the dignity and courage I need to find. In a lot of ways, May Betterly, an unsure, unreal, old-fashioned child has taught me what it means to be brave. This doesn’t mean I haven’t sent frantic emails to my agent, my editor, my family and my friends. It means the creation of and response to story can speak to a reader well beyond a book’s end.
And an author maybe has as much to learn from her characters as her audience does.
um, wow. I’m a little speechless at this beautiful and real post.
I can only say, we’re all waiting with you Caroline. You’re not alone.
Tabitha Bird says
We are indeed with you 🙂
We’re all rooting for you and May. You made me tear up with your connection to your character. Our imaginary friends may not be corporeal, but that doesn’t lessen their power… and maybe it is why they have the power to work in the lives of everyone they reach.
Rosslyn Elliott says
This brought tears to my eyes, Caroline. Your situation is so hard–I hate that you are having to go through it. I think every writer can imagine the kind of strength it would take to face that deep disapointment.
I have also sometimes found inspiration from my brave characters when I faced painful situations.
Tere Kirkland says
Waiting right here with you, Caroline!
It’s a tough place to be, but it’s nice to know we’re not alone. And it’s good that you and May still have faith in one another. 😉
You display such strength and humility (in a good way.) No matter what happens on my writing journey, I hope I can be like you, grateful and humble, yet determined.
Katie Ganshert says
Wow. I love the simple truth of your last line. Those posts you linked to are great. Especially the one about being out on submission. Thanks for being so transparent Caroline.
On a different note, I’m currently reading The True Meaning of Smekday out loud to my students. We’re about halfway through. What did you think of it?
Elana Johnson says
Aw, hugs. Did I miss the news?
I have no doubt you will come out the victor, no matter what happens.
Rachael Levy says
Keep your chin up and keep writing.
Shannon O'Donnell says
(((BIG hugs))) Your book is a winner and so are you. This was a beautiful post, Caroline. I love it that you were reminded of your own character from a friend and reader. 🙂
Irene Latham says
Love your attitude, Caroline. I heard poet Sharon Olds once say that she wrote these bold poems when in fact she was timid — and the poems made her strong. It’s the same thing with fiction. Let May be your guide. Your story isn’t over. xo
Elle Strauss says
Lovely and true. We all rooting for you and May B.
Heidi Willis says
beautifully said. I truly can’t wait to read May B, whenever that will be.
God’s timing, as you know, is always perfect. It’s not always our timing, but it’s always perfect.
Your time, and May B’s, will come.
I just read about May B. and recent events regarding its publication. Sad to hear about how it played out.
Truth is, all great artists faced big hurdles to establish themselves, so this May B. the hurdle.
Keep positive and writing as beautifully.
Rad Aloud Dad
Krista V. says
Wandered over from Liesl’s blog, and I just wanted to say I really appreciated your thoughts and the great collection of links. I hope MAY B. finds another home soon. (Or has it already…?)
out of the wordwork says
This is a beautiful post, Caroline. I’m waiting – and hoping – that all will unfold in the way it’s meant to be – with your story published. With your positive, philosophical attitude it can be the only way this story turns out.
Solvang Sherrie says
As always, beautifully said, Caroline. Amazing how the truth our characters find can apply to our lives in more than one way. I hope you and May B soon find a home.
Joanne Fritz says
Oh, what a lovely post, Caroline!
Here’s hoping MAY B finds a place as wonderful and enduring as the one in your heart.
Caroline Starr Rose says
I so appreciate all of you. Thank you!
Sara B. Larson says
I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, I can’t even imagine. We’re here for you and MAY B!
Natalie Aguirre says
Even though I am a bit late in reading this, I had to comment. It is a beautiful post. I am so sorry you’re going through this, but you’re showing us how to handle it all.
I’m in the stage of struggling to get my manuscript after years of revising to the stage of finally being done. Someday, right?
Hope things work out for your wonderful book.
Priya Parmar says
fingers crossed! remember if they wanted to publish it before, it must be amazingly good!