It's been nearly six weeks since my ms went winging off to the agent, fueled by a combustible mix of hope, dread, and relief, and slightly more than a month since I started blogging here to take my mind off the inevitable fretting. The old map trick mentioned in a previous blog, shamelessly employed again, seems to have done the trick, in that the agent responded immediately-vowing that he hopes to get back to me on the book "shortly."
How long "shortly" is in real time, I don't know. Maybe he hasn't actually started reading the book yet, which I hope is a good sign. Whereas, if he's started the book, but isn't sufficiently riveted enough to make time to finish it, that's a bad sign. (Don't we all hope our books will be devoured in one irresistible gulp?) In these perilous times, it must be a good sign that the agent is so busy reading (and hopefully selling) manuscripts, but is it a bad sign that he didn't respond within hours of my submission with extravagant praise and a contract? Can no news be good news in this case?
This is the point in the process when a writer starts to get in touch with her inner voudon priestess. Signs must be interpreted, superstitions obeyed, maybe a little associative magic called into play. That bottle of Moet I bought months (and a few previous drafts) ago, in hopes of having something to celebrate, that's now gathering dust on the bedroom dresser: if I pop it into the refrigerator to chill, is it an act of confidence, a bold visualization of success that will realign the cosmos in my favor? Or would it be the last straw of hubris that will wreck my juju, and earn me a swift rejection? Is it better to be prepared with a B-list of alternate agents in case this one doesn't pan out, or is it bad karma to even consider such a thing?
In the other world I live in, as a movie critic, we call this a cliffhanger. Stay turned for the next thrilling episode.