Saturday, November 18, 2006

Nibbles and Sledgehammers

Four of my SASE's (self addressed stamped evelopes) came home in the mail yesterday. I did my spastic ballerina dance across the kitchen, while doing my best Steve Martin impression: The new rejection letters are here! The new rejection letters are here! Four of them. In a single day. Less than a week after I sent the query letters out.

See, this is how you do it. First, make sure that your SASE's are in thin envelopes, not the security kind. So you can sort of see what is in them.

A small card is very bad news. "Dear Author:" it will read. A small card means that an intern opened your letter, tossed the letter (probably still folded) in the shredder, stuffed your SASE with the card, stamped it and tossed it in the outgoing mail pile. I imagine rows and rows of these tables, staffed with harried and exhausted interns, imps from hell with whips driving them on, faster, faster: I don't have if you have a paper cut! REJECT! REJECT!

Just as bad is the half sheet or three quarter length sheet. It's practically the same scenario as above, but sometimes the poor intern had to write your name at the top, so you get a "Dear Janet" (you suck!) note.

The full sheet of paper is the one that will mess you up. Hope, that nasty beast, will fly no matter how hard you try to keep her tethered firmly to the ground. A full sheet could go either way.

I had in my hands: one card, one half sheet and two full sheets.

Oh sweet dilemma! Which to choose? I am not afraid to admit that these things make me so crazy that I balanced them each in a hand, trying to see if one weighed more than the other, on the chance that a rejection letter would be on cheap, lightweight paper and a request for more would be on the good office stationary. Or have more words and the ink would make it heavier and that some how in my state of anxiety, my senses would be so acute I would be able to discern the extra ink weight.

And my theory was sort of right. I opened the one I felt was the heaviest first and it was a very nice request for a detailed synopsis and three chapters. Very nice, very full of "if I like this I might want to see more"...But THAT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING!! Poor woman. I can dig it. I've been around enough writers groups and been to a few conferences to know that all aspiring writers are not playing with full decks (perhaps myself included). I can just imagine an agent wanting to see more, then rejecting and finding a falling apart would be writer on his or her doorstep, weeping like a discarded lover.

But I'm cool. I know how the game is played.

So, I dutifully trot off to the computer and print out the requested materials. Bonus: I figured out how to do the big envelope label all by myself! Yeah! (claps hands) I type up a brief response. I give letter to Jason to read and approve and off it goes.

So oh happy day.

Then about seven thirty that night, while I am attempting to keep my big fat frigging mouth shut during The DaVinci Code ("oh, if only we had a map, here's one. Oh, if only we had a plane, here's one. Oh if only we had a cell phone, here's one."), there is a sudden burst of kaliadascope looking lights along the outer edges of my right eye. I ignore it, but it grows and grows to a ring of blue and white and yellow and green flashing lights with a blind spot in the middle of it.

Now the flashing lights sometimes come and go with no consequence, but the blind spot, that means there is some serious migraine shit about to go down. And I have to be at work in about three hours at this point.

So, I do what I can, cup of caffiene and 800mg of Advil. I can't take any of the fancy migraine drugs because of my family history of stroke and cerebral anuerysms. Lucky me.

But, I called to work and they were going to put someone on call, so I begged for it to be me. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU if it was some-one else's turn instead of mine.

So I was able to wallow about in agonizing pain until I passed out around two a.m., sleep for eight hours and now am just wallowing around in the post-migraine slow and stupid zone. A friend with migraines and I were discussing the after stage some time ago and we both found that after the "big ones" we have what is almost like a post-ictal (after a seizure) stage were we just aren't "right". Her's in the form of extreme clumsiness and some slurring of speech. Mine much the same, uncoordinated physical movements (more than usual, I mean) and while I don't have slurred speech, I have a kind of foggines to my thinking process.

What else is funny is how many nurses get migraines. And how many of them had migraines before they became nurses - it's not the job stress. Maybe I could get funding for a grant to study the correlation between caregiver personality and migraines?

Thor sez: Perhaps you need federal funding to study why you cannot grasp the concept that we need six cans of cat food a day. Shredded! What's with this loaf crap? Shredded Friskies!

1 comment:

chucker said...

Years ago I too had a series of rejection slips from LIFE magazine and re-reading some, I realize I have a sample of the hierarchy of "NO" you describe.

My submissions were photographs and I actually did get the full back page in the 1960s. (see my blog for details)

A migraine is the cruelist cut for a caregiver. That's just not right! Hope you find relief.