Posted by: mdmusingsie | July 24, 2010

Return to Odz

For those looking at the title of this entry; no that is not a misspelling.  It’s a cross between Odd and Oz which is how I’m looking at life in the US at the moment.

I missed Ireland as soon as the wheels of the Continental flight speeding down the Shannon runway cleared the tarmac.  The only thing keeping me from bursting into tears was swearing to myself that I would return at the earliest convenience.

I brought back several intangibles from the journey including a determination to continue eating better and losing more weight as well as a calmer spirit complete with a few less creases of the brow, or at least no permanent new ones.  One of my soon to be ex co-workers (he was leaving for another position) even mentioned at lunch that I looked younger upon my return – likely a result of those intangibles.

The sojourn had its ups and downs, but I finally reclaimed my muse and started some meaningful writing again; falling in love with my first novel all over again.  I worked hard to polish those first few chapters to make them presentable enough for the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference I would be attending barely more than 24 hours after my return.  I was actually feeling really good about my work and had high hopes (well, maybe more like low to midlands hope, but hope, nonetheless) of finding an agent and actually getting my work published.

As fate is wont to do, more often than I feel I deserve, it stood waiting patiently at my townhouse, poised with its baseball bat to knock me back down a few steps.  The critiques of the submissions I had made to the contests associated with the conference had arrived, as I had known they would.  There was good news and bad news.  My short story submission received quite good marks – not good enough to be a finalist, but there were lots of 9’s out of 10’s.  The next packet, however, dealt the blow that a pitcher feels when the ball that was to sail past the hitter before they knew it was there, is instead propelled by that ash stick up and over their head, sailing effortlessly out of the ball park.  Instead of being the hitter, I was the pitcher. 

The critiques of the first 30 pages of my first novel were, how can I put it so as not to crush my already fragile ego, not quite so encouraging.  Granted, I had re-written the first chapter since the submission back in February, but had truly hoped for a better showing.   Either due to jet lag or a thickening of my hide, I tried to take it with a grain of salt, assuming it just hadn’t been seen by the right people.  Determined to prove otherwise I set off for the conference, newly edited copies in hand.

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