Yes, you can try too hard

GRIN # 385

In addition to making puffy giant costumes and taking pictures of gangsta police cars, I am also, as you may or may not know, trying to take GRIN from blog to book.

Trying too hard, perhaps.

Today, I had the chance to pitch my idea to a New York literary agent at a local writer’s conference.

The agent agreed to meet with ten writers. I tried to make that list but it filled up quickly. I was out.

I decided to ambush her between seminars. Nicely, of course. Being a New Yorker, maybe she would admire my pluckiness.

When I got to her session it was packed. She talked about how a writer should be able to describe her book succinctly in five sentences–how it was foolish to get tongue-tied. Look at her as a friend, have confidence in your project, know how to promote it etc. I’ve been writing for twelve years. I could do this!

I asked a good question during the seminar. Get agent to notice you: Check.

After the session ended, I made a beeline to the front of the room, along with about 10 other people. I thought about my pitch: “I’m an ordinary person who finds the funny in every day for a year, which taught me that laughing at the silly stuff is a great way to grab the joy in life where I can find it.”  That’s how I would start.

Suddenly it was my turn.

“Thank you for coming to North Carolina,” I blurted. What, I was a travel agent suddenly?

She nodded. “I remember you, from the back.”

“Yes, I….tried to get on the list to see you.”

She smiled. ”

What was wrong with me? What was I blathering about?

“I, uh, write about funny things. Mundane things.” Lord have mercy!

“Uh huh.”

“I mean, the things that are funny about everyday things we have to do. Like going to the grocery store.”

She looked at me. Were crickets chirping? It was that quiet. She lived in New York City; did they even have grocery stores in the city?

“Or, like, uh, mishaps with your colleagues.” I was in the downward spiral now. I seriously couldn’t think of any word unfunnier than “mishap” or “colleague” for that matter.

“I have this proposal for you,” I stammered, miserable now. I was blowing it. Where is that hole in the floor when you need it?

At least she was nice.

“Instead of giving me that now, why don’t you sit in on the next session and see if you need to fine-tune it.”

“I’ve been working on it with my writer’s group. It’s pretty, uh, toned.” TONED?? Does it run marathons, lift weights? UGH!

She nodded again and I thanked her and left. Why do anymore damage?

After the conference I called Jerry, my husband.

How did it go? he asked.

I choked!! I yelled. “I was a blubbering idiot. It was awful. She wouldn’t even take the proposal. I told her it was a book about mundane things.

“At least, she’ll remember you,” he said.

“Yeah, for being a dumbass.”

“Whatever it takes.”

He’s got a point. Maybe bad publicity is better than no publicity. I’m sending the proposal to her electronically anyway. Maybe she’ll forget I was a dunderhead. At least I won’t have to speak.

I’ll keep ya posted.


6 Responses to “Yes, you can try too hard”

  1. Oh man, I just hate when you get that out of body experience witnessing the whole scene of some poor blithering dunderhead blabbering to crickets, and you feel so bad for their inability to stop the drivel, and then you realize you have to return to your body and the body you must return to is that blithering fool. Been there, done that. Not fun. But hey, if I was a writer, maybe I could turn it into a funny bit and then use that bit as part of the “elevator speech” to pitch my book. Alas, as you can see from my run-on uneditted comment, I will never be that writer. As for the speech, all I can say is, practice your speaking part out loud, not just in your head. It REALLY makes a difference.

  2. Hang in there, girl! You’re talented, and it’s a worthwhile project for the right agent. Rita or otherwise. I can’t wait for the success story! Your turn will come!

  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself, I bet you did great. Keep trying, I love your sense of humor. Love Mom

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