Yesterday night, at 10:10 p.m., I hit the “send” button and emailed my first query letter.
Then I immediately saved the email in a folder on my desktop and added the date—I’m not delusional, this is probably the first of the many query letters I will send over the months (years?), I have to keep track.
These 465 words stressed me out all week. Even though, overall, I’ve been fine and busy since we came back, suddenly I was nervous, worried about little things for absolutely no reason.
“Must be your French elections,” Feng assessed when I admitted I was feeling anxious.
“I don’t think so…” I replied, considering the suggestion at the same time.
Could it? No. I mean, the administrative fight had been annoying but these kinds of unexpected, minor life glitches don’t affect me much. I hope I can vote and I hope Le Pen won’t score too high but hey, whatever. I’m not that involved in French politics.
Then, I realized I was probably stressed out by the query letter. I have been working on it since my birthday, a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to email it soon. The problem is, when I don’t have a deadline, I always find convenient excuses to postpone the final editing/proofreading.
If I don’t send the letter, I can’t fail, right?
But I had to send it eventually and yes, I need to accept the consequences.
Yesterday night, I had a perfect window of time. Work was done and I was already booked for a large editing job that would keep me busy on Monday and Tuesday. Then there is the Easter Weekend coming up, and school will be closed for a couple of days. It was now or… well, not “never,” but “later,” much later.
In the morning, I bought three bamboo stalks for good luck. Then, on my way home, I realized that I had made my purchase at Loblaws and that the woman who had sold them to me was whiter than me and could have made up the “Chinese good luck” part.
I tested the purchase on Feng to get the real Chinese perspective.
“I hate to break it to you, Juliette,” he laughed, “but all our house plants die.”
This is the moment when I grabbed something on my three-drawer chest and knocked over the mug with the lucky bamboos. I mean, they didn’t cry and they weren’t hurt or anything, these are bamboo stalks… yet I’m not sure what it means in terms of luck, now.
Shit. Did I spill my luck?
The confidence I had felt when I finished the query letter is gone. At that moment, after I condensed the book, its background and my life into a short to-the-point letter, I smiled. I briefly thought I haven’t felt that positive about my chances of success since I had to take a French-as-a-second-language test at the University of Ottawa (don’t ask…).
The feeling didn’t last long. I’m left with doubts.
Is the letter good? Is the book good? Did I leave a noticeable typo? Are query letters even read?
This is strange: I didn’t know how much I cared about the book project until I started working on it again. Now that I have admitted I had “unfinished business” and that I wanted to open that chapter of my life again, I feel the same passion I had when I wrote the story. I care. I want this to happen.
I’m like Mark who suddenly falls in love with the baby toys I moved to the basement, even though I never liked them as a baby.
Humans are completely illogical.
I need to take a deep breath.
Nothing will happen. I sent an email, that’s all. The world is still spinning. Gee.
Tomorrow, a new week will start and I’ll sort through my morning emails, as usual, then I’ll work on my editing assignment and whatever comes next.
Somewhere, for the person I sent the email to, it will just another Monday morning at work.
And that’s it. The “online me” writes about the book project but the “real life me” doesn’t talk about it.
Inconveniently, I don’t believe in a higher power and starting to pray for success at this stage probably won’t yield any result—I’m pretty sure you actually have to show some faith for at least a few years to be eligible for a miracle.
I’ll just wait and eventually move on, then.