It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. In late December 2021 I heard back from a literary agent who was interested in my manuscript. We had a few emails back and forth and then a phone conversation about how to make the work stronger. So the first quarter of 2022 had me doing another deep dive, heightening some things and adding some new material that, frankly, I had consciously avoided in the earlier draft. I’d told myself that it would have to be tackled in a subsequent book. But. No. It would have to be done now — the integration of experience rather than the continued fragmentation.
It was not an easy time, what with Omicron and more… Looking back, I see now that, even though I’d published several essays related to the memoir over the previous few years, I didn’t really force myself to conceive of the book in its entirety until after my father died in 2019. Through the early terror of the pandemic, and all through 2020, I slogged through an unwieldy first drafted with coaching and feedback from a freelance editor. Then, when feedback from beta readers came in, I had to discard my rose-tinted glasses and draft some more. Through most of 2021, with the help of another editor, I revised again; this was more of a slash and burn. The story got clearer. I could now (mostly!) discern the wheat from the chaff. I felt ready to pitch it to agents.
As I sent out a few queries to agents in the late fall of 2021, I knew the timing wasn’t great, and I might have to wait until January — after the holidays — to forge ahead full speed. But the agent I most wanted to work with got back to me. I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to work with this person — whom I shall not name at the moment! — who accepted my revisions earlier this summer.
The manuscript has now been submitted to several editors at publishing houses, and I’m in a different sort of waiting period. But I’ve got lots to keep me busy as we wait to hear their responses: my gun violence prevention work with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America; preparing for and speaking at HippoCamp22, a nonfiction writing conference in Lancaster, PA; spending time with family and friends; and enjoying the outdoors, when the temperature is bearable. I am so grateful to be at this point that I am finding I have patience in abundance. I have been working on this book since 2007 — 15 years! — and I believe more than ever that it will make its way into the world when it’s meant to. Thanks for coming along on the ride!