Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Post #5--A draft in the agent's hands

The work was beautiful. It felt synchronistic.

We were both immediately engaged--we got home from that trip and felt ready to pounce on the project. We didn't tell each other what we were doing--there was little-to-no prep work--we just sat down and started writing. Lolly and I would put the girls to bed, and then it was time. I would grab four or five caramels, then she and I would and sit side by side in our office. We wouldn't write for long--thirty minutes maybe. But we'd get a good chunk done, and then we'd compare notes.

It was uncanny how everything lined up.

The things she was writing, I didn't write, and vise versa. She wrote scenes I was sure she needed to write, and I wrote scenes that she anticipated I would write. It was as if we'd planned it. We were continually amazed. We did check in occasionally and assign some stories to one person or the other, but for the most part our instincts remained aligned. And it was so much fun. We revisited so many wonderful memories of our childhood and youth. It was great to reminisce, and it was fun to put to paper important memories that added to the special context of our union.

At the same time, the work was slow. The months crept by, and soon I started getting anxious. I started wondering if the opportunity to be represented by the agent that contacted me had passed me by. And, after several months, the work started to stagnate a little bit. Lolly and I were busy living our life--not writing about it. I wondered if we'd ever finish.

One evening I got a tiny itch.

I opened up my email account and typed in that agent's name. Part of me was sure that so many months had passed that he would no longer be interested in our project. It had been almost nine months since he'd contacted me. Surely, he would feel hesitant by this point. It's not like he'd ever followed up with me--he'd never shown any interest except in the week following the viral post. It was entirely possible he'd moved on, and that we were pretty much on our own.

I typed the following message:

Hi,

My wife and I have been working on our memoir together. We have around 40,000 words. Were you still interested in representing our story? If so, we'd love to touch base with you.

Then I hit send. Impetuous. Always impetuous. This guy was no slouch, and it was nerve-wracking to think that I'd just shot him an email like that.

But, that's how I roll, I guess.

Not a day later, I got this:

Hi Josh,

It is great to hear from you. I would very much like to see what you guys have put together. Please by all means send it on

Don't hesitate to give me a call if you'd like to talk anything over before you press send.

We were thrilled. We didn't call him. We just pressed send. We sent him what we had and said "we'd love any feedback." And just like that, a major New York agent had the little manuscript we'd worked on together at nights in his hands. "Maybe he can just give us some tips on how to finish this thing well," I remember thinking. "Maybe he'll give us the push we need to get this thing done."

I couldn't have been more surprised by his response.