Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Lament

I am doing what I told myself I would never do- lamenting over a "rejection." Having been waiting over a month and a half for a publisher to decide on a picture book manuscript/illustration package- where if they bought it-I would of then did all the illustrations. Idea was just sketched out at this point-I started to get "cocky"
Well as the weeks went by and I received personal notes from the publisher along the way- somewhere in my head, I must of decided I got it- because my thoughts went to book tours and awards- I thought my ship had come in, that I had drawn the "Treasure Chest Card" that lets you go around the whole Monopoly board, with a get out of jail free card and hands you your two hundred dollars- I thought I had just been waved to the front of the line- of want-to-be published writers and illustrators. I thought finally my money will be where my mouth is! That this "what if" and "someday" would be now- I would be paid for what I love to do- I could stop feeling silly when some one asked me what I do- so much more easy to just say- I am an author/illustrator, instead of a want-to-be.
Well when the email came last night- My "Treasure Chest Card" was replaced with a "Go Directly to Jail Card", My ship was sunk and I would have to continue to give a "round about" answer to the question- what do you do? And I could see myself-almost at the front of the line- being directed by a big burly bouncer to walk back to my allotted place at the back of the line- which is fine- I really knew in my gut this was to easy- to get something that big now- in fact fear gripped me wondering if I was ready to produce 32 illustrations in six months- I have a lot of other stuff in the mix and will develop the story at some point because it is a good story and to confess I want the publisher who rejected it to have a "I could of had a V8" moment when he sees it the "Caldacott" book of the year.
What really scares me- terrifies me- is not "Can I write-can I illustrate", I know I have the skill, the tool, I know composition and story structure- what really scares me is "What if I am in the wrong line?" Like the running joke of standing for hours in the farm machinery line at the DMV- only to find out when you get to the window- What if my ideas, my stories are so "odd" and "strange" that they will never ring true with the general public. What if I think so differently- that there is no audience for what I have to say. Someone once said "It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought a fool, then to open it and remove all doubts"
So here I sit- in the back of the line again, wondering what to do.
I will always write and illustrate, it is like breathing to me, my head would burst if I didn't. I know God gave me a gift and I will hone it and use it. But he also wants to teach me something through it and that is the hard part- Nothing comes easy, never has and if it did- would it be worth having-
But this morning, I just wonder how long the line really is for me- and hope and pray that when I finally get to the front of it- someone will ask me to autograph my book instead of what piece of farm machinery would I like registered.


  1. Hang in there! I have to believe that the longer it takes, the better the reward in the end.

    Your work is fabulous and with continued determination, you'll find an editor that 'gets' you.
    I've been through the same emotions about being in the right or wrong line. But from experience I'm noticing that the only way to find out is to get in one line and see what happens. Sometimes you'll be in one line and you'll have someone tap you on the shoulder and show you a better one.

    One thing leads to another and I know with your faith you know exactly what I mean.

    Have you seen the books out by Belinda Downes? If not, search Amazon. I think you'll love her work as much as I do!

  2. Oh Julia, we can, at least I can relate. If I had a chocolate bar for every rejection I have had over the past two years, I would be a candidate for the 'biggest loser' on TV or otherwise. It is so tough to see a child rejected....and our manuscripts and illustrations are our children. But I know your work and it is good. It will find a home and we will all celebrate.... with Chocolate of course!

  3. Julia,
    Madeleine Leangle’s “A Wrinkle in time” was turned down 29 times before being accepted! And millions love that book. Margaret Mitchell‘s “Gone With the Wind” was rejected by 38 different publishers before finally being accepted--And look how famous that story turned out to be! Stephen King is said to have stuck all his rejection slips on a spike in his bedroom. Dr. Seuss,. Beatrix Potter,…etc . All writers get rejections…it’s just part of the process. It doesn’t mean your stuff isn’t good. It just means that whoever read it didn‘t have the vision to see its potential...You do have a unique voice, one that Needs to be heard. You have the ability to touch the very heart and soul. I loved the paragraphs you wrote in “Being a part of an old couple” and even your words in this one called “Lament” You have a unique voice, one I love to read. Hang in there and keep standing in that line…Your life is in God’s hand…and His promise to you is…Jeremiah 29:11..’For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you and expected end…” We Need to hear what you have to say.

  4. Julia,
    I so know the feeling. You're going to get to the front of the line at the perfect time. Both your illustrations and your writing are unique and wonderful. A wise publisher will discover you and be thrilled to be the first to grab up your work. Keep your chin up!