Wednesday, October 14, 2009

With all the glowing and fantabulous rejections coming in, my ladyhood flew out the front door on a cloud of cussing.
How is it these hotshot editors could say such nice things about my new novel, and then turn around and conclude: “Too bad. I really wanted to fall in love with this, but in the end, I just didn’t connect.” Connect, my ass. Take that for ladylike.
This wave of rejections is what I’ve come to expect from my agent since the economy tanked last year. I enjoy the art of blaming my lack of sales on the recession. Even my agent, with only three big houses left to try, isn’t sending the manuscript back out just yet.
It’s as if she’s waiting on the right moment or the right person. She tells me New York’s purse strings are tight, and if you’ve birthed a book that didn’t do well – as was the case with my last - it’s even more daunting.
Why, I wondered, can’t they go by the sales of my first book, which did so much better?
Maybe I need to become more of a real lady. Seems these creatures of the feminine world are snagging book deals as if fishing in stocked ponds.
If I were a true lady with crumpets and wads of money, I’d fly up to New Yawk and hawk my wares over $80 fruit salad plates. I could charm those stiffs with my lovely, slightly hicky Southern accent and before they could blink, they’d buy my new book.
For most of us it doesn’t work that way. I’ve never had the chance to charm my way into a plump book deal the way an author friend of mine did. Why, soon as she hit the editors with a suffocating blast of Ladyhood, she found herself and her proposal in a heated bidding war. Ah, what a dream.
This was about 10 years ago, and she strutted and flirted and batted her Lancomed eyes to the tune of a $600,000 advance for a first book. Some people have all the luck.
I feel as if mine is running out, and selling my quirky novel is a dream on hold, as if suspended from air with no safety net below.
If only I could sit back patiently, let another year of near poverty go by, and hold my head up like a real lady.
Like my wanna-be writer friend Mindy. Mindy Green of Greensboro, Alabama, said it took 38 years, but the Lady title recently crowned her curls. A group of men at a soda fountain told her they wouldn’t talk dirty in the presence of a lady, meaning Mindy.
She was floored. “I used to think the fairy would come and whack you upside the head and, Poof!, you’re crossing your legs every time you sit down to keep that penny between your knees,” she said in her drawling, Alabama accent.
“I’m new to this lady stuff, and I think I got my title by default since I have all these kids (five) running around and fighting, and I still find myself cussing like a sailor. I’m not sure ladies do that.”
Mindy is an outdoors woman who likes to engage in “dude” things like firing off shotguns and playing sports. She’s not the kind you picture in pearls and petticoats, sitting on her columned veranda drinking mimosas. She’s more the kegger-type gal.
Even so, she’s a great woman, lady or not. And since she plans to wear pearls on Halloween, she’s hoping to keep her “Lady” title, which we all know requires pearls, soft speech, charity work, memorization of “Miss Manners,” and pretending not to like sex.
I got to thinking about Mindy’s new ladyhood and wondered when the fairy would
peck on my door for a full-time priss pot gig of drinking tea and hosting parties with matching dinnerware, crystal and delicate cucumber sandwiches.
“I’m a lady?” I dared ask a trusted friend. “Ladies seem to do well and even get book deals in weak economic times.”
“No,” he said, and I was taken aback. “You’re a girl. They’re far more fun, anyway.”
If only my agent would invite me to break bread with these editors, I could try to pull the whole lady thing off. I’d wear my matching purse and shoes with the best of them. I’ll bet New York editors would really dig the matching purse and shoe deal, and maybe I could let it slip that my undies also matched my bra. Pure class.
Perhaps a Yahoo poster put it best in describing the art of Ladyhood.
“A lady exudes confidence. A lady would never betray her word. A lady would never do something to look cool. A lady will always be the most sought after object.”
See there? Sought after object, which can only mean New York editors cannot possibly resist a true Southern lady or her much-beloved and much-rejected manuscript.
The moment has come to match up the clothes and ask for face time with the few editors still “on the fence.” Boy, I hate that term and all it’s come to represent.
Sign me…A lady in waiting.
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Shelby said...

I wanna know who got the 600k deal.

Anonymous said...

I bet I know. Initals R.R.