My Red Room friends, neighbors and fellow neurotic writers:
Behold the Query Letter I sent in to Alan X. a "famous" memoir agent:
Overcome! (working title), narrative non-fiction, memoir,~ 150000 words
I’ve been reading your history with memoirs, especially your appreciation of those that are a bit offbeat. I’m very impressed and I hope to do leave you feeling the same way about my work.
In 2008, I died. Being a gay man, having grown up in a small town church in west Texas, I expected hell. Instead, I was embraced by the most passionate, powerful love, peace and acceptance beyond anything I have known. When the doctor revived me, I literally cried wishing to go back to that place of perfection. That place where I’d seen loving people who had been taken by AIDS, accidents and even just old age. They were living, vibrant beings surrounding and connected to one great Source.
Now, one does not simply come back and say, “Guess what! There is a lovely bit of existence on the other side, could you possibly send me back. Yes, I have cocktails waiting. Sorry to trouble you, but you’ve got the needle there. No, that one. To the right. Yes, that will do nicely. Shoot away.” If you do, you go to the looney bin. Or, rather a placed called Timberlawn Mental Health Center. They put you in for three weeks and see what happens.
What happened for me was the recovery from childhood incest, beatings, having seen heaven and the chronic daily pain I have from a botched weight loss surgery. Vanity carried a large price, at least for me. The doctor slipped and cut a bit of nerve extending to the tips of my toes which now insist they are being bathed in lava 24/7/365.
In addition, I revisit the time before the crossing and the lessons I learned living the gay life in Lubbock, Texas while attending to post-doctoral studies in human development. I was inspired by a beloved mentor, accompanied by a best friend and taken to the cleaners (and the hospital) by my “boyfriend”. All of this going on as I was living with the chronic pain. Which was a big problem, except when cocaine was involved. And that, of course, has its own problems.
In Overcome! I deliver all of the above in a cohesive narrative full of both humor and poignant moments. It is the story of a life that happens to be filled with experiences that need to be shared. I have grown from them and wouldn’t change it for a thing. I feel confident in the work having an audience in the GLBT spirituality and GLBT memoir niches as well as having the appeal of A Million Little Pieces with the exception that my work has integrity. The first draft of the work is finished.
I am a professional pastoral counselor, author of two progressive Christian works (Crossing Twice and Spirit Thinking) and advocate of both those suffering with neuropathy and their caregivers. I have an advice blog, Ask Dr. Reece, which has a strong readership as well as running the online community Queerbook.com. This work, however, begs for a larger audience than Advocate USA Publishing reaches. I’ve had Ivory Madison on board with me for development and the first draft in nearing completion.
Per you query submission guidelines, I am including the first five pages for your consideration.
Thank you for your time, Alan. I hope to hear from you soon.
Reece W. Manley
What did I do right? What did I do wrong?
Causes Reece Manley Supports
Feed the Children, Amnesty International, Lambda Pride