I was a junior in college when I was asked by my English Professor to meet him, which meant, no matter how wild I imagined, that I was in trouble. Back then I'd already come to the conclusion that 98% of meetings scheduled were basically long and painful discussions about something wrong. As I walked into the meeting, I simply thought: "Can't there be meetings scheduled to deliver good news? There's got to be a few out there...lucky bastards."
"I want to talk to you about being an English major, Patrick," he said. I gulped. Yeah...one of those that touches the top of your heart. After going from theater to recreation, I'd chosen English Literature as my 'destiny' (sorry, just got finished watching Lost). And for the first time I had a definite direction in my life.
He kept going. He was in fifties, been a professor for decades, and what came out of his mouth could be engraved on some ancient cave wall, so I listened. "You know, I've read your papers, and...I don't know...something is just not clicking right up there."
I blinked. "You mean, my-my mind?"
I'm not sure how people are made, or how people develop their reactions to people. For example, at this point I could have started crying and listened to him. I could have accepted my fate and sheeped my way out of the room and into a nice comfortable business degree, but that walk back..........that buzzing, exploding, thunder rumbling walk back to my dorm...I got so angry I finished a novel three months later. Of course it was awful, but a year later I culled a short story from it and it ended up winning the college award for best piece of fiction. The best thing about it was that he had to sign the certificate I got framed, which rests in our home, years later.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, whenever I get rejected (ballpark...I believe I'm batting 8 for 411 at the moment), I almost force myself to call up that anger that got me through that first book, that pulled me out of despair, and when you reach that moment in your story or novel, that moment when the anger that started your car subsides, and the story, the characters, the world, takes over....it becomes a parallel kind of heaven for me.
Anywho, just my two cents.
This is the first time I've ever promoted myself on the internet, so please understand how awkward this is for me, but I need to do it. Currently I am a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition. My novel...Humble Trip...is sitting in the General Literature section (don't you just love those Mainstream synonyms?), and I just wanted to provide you with a link to it.
The first 17 pages of the novel are there. Just an excerpt. If you have some spare time, I hope you'll read it. I'm waiting for Publisher's Weekly to review it and will know April 15th if I made it to the next round. We'll see, and yes, I'm trying on purpose to be understated. =). I knock on wood about fifteen times a day.