where the writers are
My obsession: the perfect match
burned out

I am obsessed with finding the perfect match. I like to collect them from fancy hotels and restaurants whenever I go on a road trip for business or pleasure.

Despite the tanked economy, I still have the connections to get invited on free trips all over the world. Many resorts and destinations are looking for guys like me, credentialed travel writers, who will come, enjoy all they have to offer and write about the lavish experience.

I’m obsessed with trying to find outlets that will justify their flattering interest. Until then, I turn down all the free trips outside the country and more than 90 percent of the ones within.

I like to use those matches to start fires. I’m obsessed with watching things burn. 

We have two fireplaces in our home and a big limestone fire pit out back. I spend many, many days in the woods behind our house chopping timber and watching the big stack of firewood grow. If I could, I’d stop writing for a month and do nothing but concentrate on getting a pile of wood big enough to keep us in firewood for the next 20 years.

And then I’d cut more wood.

One of the things I’m obsessed with burning is a footstool-sized stack of rejection letters from literary agents who say they are not interested in reading my novel. I always say I know I’m not working hard enough unless I get at least a rejection letter a day.

Despite my insistent proclamations of laziness, the stack is evidence I’m a hard worker. There are form letters, personal ones, ones that say I suck and ones that say I don’t. There are snail mailed ones and print outs from e-mailed ones. I save each of them.

After about five years, I’m convinced my novel is really ready for publication. Several top agents have told me so. They say the book is destined to succeed and I believe them.

They tell me the book’s not right for them but they are certain that the right agent for me is out there. They say it’s just a matter of time before I’m matched with an enthusiastic agent who will shepherd this book through to successful publication.

I’m obsessed with finding that agent.

When I find him or her I’m going to go out in my back yard and spend a day cutting firewood. I’ll run the chainsaw till it’s too hot to handle. Then I’ll get the ax out and split the stuff till my arms and back ache.

I’ll stack a pile of it in the pit out back and pull out that stack of rejection letters.

And I’ll set fire to them all.

But first I need to find that perfect match before burn out sets in.

I got to get that match.