Woken at 8 am by the telling thump of my manuscript as it landed on my doormat.
I was woken by the Postman this morning. Not directly by the Postman, but by a dull thump as something heavy landed on the hall mat. Now what could that be I thought, a telephone directory? Or maybe it’s a clothes catalogue. A telephone directory wouldn’t go through the letterbox and I don’t buy clothes from catalogues. No, I knew by the telling thump of it what it was. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, to prepare myself for the standard rejection letter that begins, Thank you for your recent letter, which in my case was a synopsis, the first three chapters of my novel, proposal and CV – seventy pages, which I sent in August 2011, it is now January 2012.
To delay the inevitable, I spent as long as I could in the bathroom, vacating it only when I couldn’t stand the cold any longer. Two outside walls and a large window, brrrrrrr – I ran into the bedroom and dressed. From the top of the stairs I saw an A4 envelope. Not any old A4 envelope – but a heavy duty, expandable, light manila, self-seal, A4 envelope – the type you can only afford to buy two of, at any one time. One to send your dreams off and one to bring them back, if you’re not lucky. Anyway, it had to be opened, so I ran down stairs, picked the envelope up and took it into the kitchen. I laid it on the table face up and noticed the stamps didn’t have any black marks on them. Bonus! I can use them again I thought while I made a jug of coffee.
After two cups of my morning kick-me-up, which was strong enough to put a zing into a rhinoceros, I opened the envelope and took out my baby. I read the apology for responding with a standard letter, which is standard, as is the excuse of ‘a small client base’, which is why they are not taking on any new clients. I Googled their client base and it is anything but small, but I digress. The third paragraph said (forgive the paraphrasing), if you would like our book on how to present your work and get a literary agent please send a cheque, etc., etc. Their self-help book, which was once my writing bible, has been gathering dust on my bookshelf for five years. I wondered about writing to them and telling them this, but then I realised that the book suggestion was also standard. So, the standard letter ended with the standard phrase, Good luck finding the right agent for your work.
Bless! Well, to wish someone good luck in their endeavour is better than wishing them bad luck – even if it is standard. Anyway, enough of my cynicism. If anyone reads this short story, please know that after I had written it, after I had vented my anger in words, which is the best way to vent anger – the pen is mightier, and all that – my disappointment had waned, and I felt more determined than ever to get my novel out there. So, as soon as I can afford two more heavy duty, expandable, light manila, self-seal, A4 envelopes... Only joking.