A Funny Thing Happened To Me…

This is the kind of thing that might have more punch in 10 years, by which time we’ll both know how the story ends. As I write this post, I’m sitting on a bus. First time on a bus in this city actually, though I’ve used the train a few times. This morning as I was pulling out, I discovered my first flat tire in probably 12-13 years.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see that this stems from yesterday evening, when I took to the highway as I always do, on my way home from work. Unlike most evenings, I struck a rock the size of a garden gnome which, for some reason, was straddling the centre line on an otherwise beautiful day.

Did I mention I’m on my way to a writer’s conference to meet my first agent? And that it’s raining? Well I am. And it is.

Presently I’m looking out the window to make sure I don’t miss my stop, but I haven’t. I didn’t bring an umbrella, because I’m cool like that, and I’m wet, but not too wet. Hopefully my hair doesn’t look like a mop by the time I get there.

<rain, etc, etc>

I’ve just texted my girlfriend “I’m here” and I used the smiley emoji because my last text probably sounded grouchier than I meant it to. It isn’t her fault that I got a flat tire, and frankly her belief in me has probably helped in ways I can’t even quantify. I’ll pepper her face with kisses when I get back, and see about putting on that spare tire donut thing that looks oh so terrible on Mustangs.

The other interesting thing is that this incident is going to keep me from going to a friend’s book launch party later on, at which I might have met her publisher. I’ve been debating with myself, and literary forum folk, about whether meeting said local publisher would be a good or bad thing for my budding career. I still don’t know the answer, but after that aforementioned 10 years, I expect I will.

<wandering, wandering>

It’s just like me to spend all this money on a writer’s conference, only to be more interested in the feather quills that lady is selling than in the actual workshops. Not many of the workshop names are jumping out at me. I’m not a “Self-Publishing Virgin” for example. As I write this paragraph I’m sitting in a conference room off to the side, where people are busily writing, prepping, what have you, and I’m struck by the fact that I’m the only guy in here vs a dozen women. Makes me wonder if it’s true that women are smarter than men. Though for gender solidarity purposes, I’ll say that it’s not.

40 minutes until my pitch session and I’m writing a stupid blog post instead of – OOH! Another guy just walked in! Where was I…oh yeah, I should be thinking about what I want to ask the agent, because this is supposed to be a learning experience (I’m told). It’s not like I’ve been lazy all week, I really haven’t. I’m hitting my writing quotas every day, while also editing the manuscript I’m supposed to present to the agent today (nothing is ever done), working my day job, and pining away on Twitter, wondering why no one is submitting their stories to my new website Strange.Business. It’s been up a whole week! Yeah…again…10 years from now…yadda yadda.

I’m hungry, but rather than buy an $8 hotel sandwich and get lettuce in my teeth, I’ll probably just hit up A&W at the mall after my pitch session. Will I go to even one workshop? We’ll see. There’s a flat tire waiting for me at home.

<shenanigans, more rain, etc>

Victory! Kinda! Close enough!

Ok, so here’s what I did in advance: I layed out my entire plot in bullet points….don’t do that. I got maybe 2/3 of the way through before my 10 minutes were up. Meaning I didn’t get a chance to ask any of those questions I was trying to come up with earlier. See, I learned something.

BUT

The agent I met with was a terrific guy, who showed real enthusiasm for the story I was telling. I’m sending him my manuscript, as soon as I finish that extra scene that my inner critic insisted on adding to an already finished story. I don’t mind saying I’m excited. This could be the start of really great things for me, and even if it turns out it isn’t, I’ll keep going at this until it is.

You know, when I was looking at that flat tire this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder if the universe was trying to smack me down for dreaming too big. Or at the very least throwing up a road block to see if I was serious. Well, I am. So as I ride the train home on this dreary but awesome day, cradling a toaster that I bought for my sweetheart, let me just say here’s to the future.

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