I have not posted for several months. I have come to the realization that “building a following” is an aspiration that I can barely understand. It used to be that following came after achievement of some kind not before. I’ve been advised that I need to build a following BEFORE my book comes out.
In June I attended the Historical Novel Society conference where I took every opportunity to get critiques on my writing. I changed the first chapter in my hotel room at night. I pitched an agent and a publisher. Both wanted to see my first 50 pages. Heady stuff.
The agent turned me down. I hired an editor to improve my book. Her comments were challenging and accurate. With some honest soul searching I realized that my first 100 pages or more needed to go. Yesterday I withdrew my manuscript from consideration by the publisher.
So as we’ve moved through Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, my dear Sarah continues to speak to me. I gave her two years. We are both tired (and a bit bored with this yo-yo of bending to advice). So I have rolled the stone across her grave and am putting this project to rest. There is grief attached to this life’s work, but freedom as well. I feel a new creative window may open soon.
The other glimpse of death that I experienced this summer, and more the reason for a lack of communication, was a sever asthma attack. Allergy triggers illness triggers bronchitis triggers constant phlegm-filled coughing and struggle for breath. I came as close to dying as I can remember. I also came to appreciate every breath and every moment of peace between spells. It took two months for everything to “settle down”.
With my illness came the shedding of aspirations of the Paris exchange. Perhaps I’m experiencing PTSD from getting sick in Europe and feverishly coughing on the sixteen hour trip home.
For now, I celebrate my breath, each and every one, and my temporary restoration of heath. Mazel Tov.