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I’m going to put the whole moving discussion on hold for a few days and go back to the news some of you have been so patiently waiting for. This may be a bit premature but (as surely you know by now) I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines waiting for things to happen and I’ve certainly never been one to hold my cards to my chest, so even if this doesn’t lead to anything, it’s still exciting and worth sharing.
In October of 07, after we’d spent nearly three months in the hospital, my friend Becky showed up at my house one Saturday afternoon and planted sixty tulip bulbs in our understandably neglected front yard. After all the very necessary and appreciated meals and playdates that people provided for us, this was such an unexpected and lovely gift. I will never quite forget the feeling, many months later, after Austin had finished chemo, of standing on the porch and watching my two healthy boys run around the front yard against a backdrop of those colorful blooms.
So….(this is indeed going somehwere, just bear with me), Kelly Corrigan, who I’ve mentioned before, whose memoir The Middle Place has been number TWO on the NYTimes Bestseller list since it came out in paperback 18 weeks ago, who I felt like I knew after reading the first two paragraphs of her work, has a website called Circus of Cancer that helps people support their friends through cancer treatment. It’s geared mostly towards women with breast cancer, since that’s what Kelly had, but is filled with ideas that could apply to anyone dealing with any cancer. So a few weeks ago, I clicked on the “Contact Us” button on the site and sent a message describing Becky’s gift, because it was so unique and so special. I imagined that my message was floating off into cyberspace to be retrieved by an unnamed techy in a box somewhere.
Well, lo and behold, a few days later, I received an email from Kelly Corrigan herself, thanking me for sharing such a cool idea and ending with the simple and obligatory, “I hope your son’s okay.”
Have I said I’m not one for sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to happen? I sent her back a message that started off with, “Yeah, we hope our son’s okay too” and moved through that day’s drama (the radiation dilemma) and ended with “I’m sure you get people everyday who say, ‘I loved your book, I feel like I know you, I want to share my story’, but what the hell….I loved your book, I feel like I know you and I want to share my story.” And of course, I invited her to the blog.
Well, within a matter of hours I got a message back sounding like she was truly interested and moved by our situation and saying she would read the blog. I got all excited, oh my god, the Kelly Corrigan was going to read my blog, I can’t believe this, maybe we would start some sort of a dialogue….. And then nothing happened and I figured she must say that to everyone who shares their sob story with her or maybe she really meant to but got busy and forgot all about me . . . and then one night about ten days later I opened a message from her that says she read my blog and would be happy to share my stuff with her agent!
Well, this is like stumbling upon the holy grail of the literary world. To be personally referred to an agent by one of their star clients, one of their star best-selling clients, is golden. Agents are usually looking for reasons to reject submissions, especially unsolicited submissions. But in a case like this (which I have to imagine–and hope–Kelly doesn’t do very often, because why would she abuse her relationship with her agent like that?), the agent would actually be looking for reasons to like it. Long story short, Kelly forwarded my first 16 pages (with NO query letter!) to her agent who has said (to Kelly) that I am a strong writer and she will request more in a few weeks.
So I’ve revised it all yet again and am ready to hit send if and when that moment arrives. In the meantime, I’m occupying myself with other big things!
I think I owe Becky some tulips……..