by Charles W. Dowdy
I just got off the phone with my dream agent! I am beyond excited and I want to share this story with other writers. This woman has blasted my head into the clouds. She said my writing was unique and visionary. She said it was full of wit and delivered in a somewhat manic style.
Perhaps that’s where the conversation took a turn that left me a little pensive. She asked some of those personal questions that all writers dread. How are you supposed to answer them? Too much information and you might bore her to death. Too little and you might seem like you’re trying to hide something.
So I ‘fessed up. I can be a little manic sometimes. The doctors call it maniacal or clinical something or the other. Whatever.
Then she asked if I had any personal problems she needed to know about. Me? I’m boring 101. You know, there was that little dustup with the IRS, but who hasn’t had problems with them? In fact, outstanding IRS liens tend to make someone more normal in my eyes. Or normaler. Whatever. Then there was that stalking conviction, but I later married my stalkee, and if that doesn’t say a lot about my resolve, then I don’t know what does.
So, outside of that kind of thing, I’m just a regular Joe Regular. You know, a Joe Regular who likes to spend most of his time alone so he can make up stories in his head and occasionally has loud conversations with the characters in his books, often when his mind is in neutral, like when he’s on the subway or driving a church bus full of children or senior citizens.
And then I suddenly thought, how did this conversation with my dream literary agent end up in the third person? Or maybe I said that aloud? Whatever. But I was pretty sure I’d read something about keeping all phone conversations with prospective literary agents out of the third person.
As far as any book proceeds, or advances, or whatever, I think I earned BIG points when I told her she could just keep that money for the next four to six years. Talk about showing trust from day one. I told her I’d just come pick it up when we could arrange a mutually beneficial time, preferably late at night, and that I would rather it be delivered in small, non-sequential bills.
Whatever! I’m easy to work with. And that was one point I really hammered home. I am EASY. I accept editorial direction with the best of them. I’ve got like twenty-three hours a day to write. So I have been producing reams and reams of material. And I can deliver it all electronically, you know, unless the warden is being a horse’s ass because some degenerate lifer started a riot in the shower. Turned out the poor, hopeless bastard had gotten smitten with some white collar mullet, and the rest of us were all screaming, “Stop wiggling, let it happen, let it happen,” but this tease of an accountant had to play hard to get and somehow things quickly escalated from a steamy shower room to bloody shanks, water cannons and tear gas.
While this wasn’t the kind of dazzling personal news I wanted to share with my new agent, she had to admit that you can’t buy that kind of writing material. How true that was, and I seized this time to inform her that after any sizable prison riot, getting material to write on is next to impossible, and would she mind accepting manuscripts handwritten in my own blood on the back of 64 ounce soup can labels?
And I’m sure I’m reading WAY too much into this, but this was where she went kind of silent on me. You know, I’m sure she was just weighing it all before making that last second commitment to my literary superstardom. Probably just imagining which magic button she’d push that’ll rocket my name up there with the Browns and Rowlings and Palins.
At least, that’s what I think was happening.
Besides, I’m sure my new literary agent accepted my silence as acquiescence and vice versa. Great minds think alike and all that. She’s the best, right? I’ll probably be able to call her back next week and find out we already have an offer. Multiple offers. From the biggest houses. In fact, I’m sure we will. After all, she’s the best literary agent out there and we are now ONE.
Gosh, by next week, I guess the only question will be whether our relationship will have reached the point where I can call her collect.
Whatever. I’m easy.
Charles Dowdy is the father of four and the husband of one. Editors may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Dowdy's web site is not to be missed! He has to be one of the funniest, most irreverent writers in the South . . . or anywhere. Go see!
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