This is my rescue dog from Texas. He got his name during a car trip from a pound to the rescue. It seems that he liked the sound of his own voice…just a little too much. This is Preacher Man. You’ve met him on my other Relaxed and Forward blog.
He and I have an arranged marriage. I picked him up at the airport, already committed to a life together. He nervously eyeballed me on the way home, but it has been one ear-splitting, barkalicious party ever since.
They say people are like their dogs; it must be some universal law, whether we pick them out of a line-up or they come, like Preacher, as a blind date. And so I guess it’s no accident that this dog who over-spoke to his rescuers and needed a verbally tolerant home landed here. My hearing loss isn’t the worst thing, and besides, I like to tell a good story myself.
The first thing you notice about Preacher Man, after his voice, is his impatience. Nothing happens fast enough. Food always comes too slow, but so does lap time. Even the door opens too slowly. He says there’s plenty of time for patience when he’s in his grave. I’m afraid we might have that in common, too. Life is uncertain but sometimes impatience can have a positive side.
That said, I began writing this book on Christmas eve of 2012 in a cabin in Woodland Park. Through the next year, I got up before dawn and worked on the manuscript every day. I didn’t talk about it much; I just kept writing, editing, re-writing, and trying to get to the point of the book, without beating it half to death in the process. Impatience is a kind of energy.
Thirteen months later, I thought I was done but I’d also lost all perspective. The sheer mass of 80,000 words! I was the kid in high school who wrote 20 page book reports but this was nuts. So I sold a saddle and hired an editor. He loved my writing but hated the book. Or maybe he just didn’t get my intention, either way, his input was a bit contradictory. Still, I wanted to tell this story my way–so I wrote harder and deeper. I was impatient to get it right.
Six months after that, I sent the new version to a second editor. She pounded me about time inconsistencies, sentence structure, and word tense. I was thrilled. She didn’t mention the subject matter until near the end when she made a note that she was cheering and fist pumping as she read a paragraph. (Followed by cheering, fist pumping, and a few tears of my own.)
Then I fought through one more re-write, and by that I mean every single sentence scrutinized, more than once. Then scrutinized again. If my memoir came off as a silly horse book, I’d kill myself. Impatiently, of course.
Four months of more re-writing and it went off to yet another editor. I’d changed some crucial parts and I wanted another set of eyes on it; someone who didn’t know me and got paid to see the mistakes. And it came back with lots more small fixes, plus the biggest personal compliment I could ever imagine. I mean over-the-top praise on all fronts–she thought the book was great. She loved it. Because I was impatient to do justice to this story. Because it isn’t just my story.
So here we are now at Week 1 of Self-publishing, after 16 weeks of Publisher Purgatory. I’m still waiting, this time for call backs from book designers. In the meantime, I got one last publisher rejection. Want to read part of it?
“We are not accepting it for publication, but I wanted to write you personally rather than just sending the form letter. You are a wonderful writer, with a vivid, colorful style, and your manuscript is definitely publishable. The memoir genre is not a strong one for us, however, …”
That’s about as inspiring a rejection as we can imagine. Preacher Man and I, we’re yapping away, as impatient as ever.
I’m glad so many of you have commented that you can’t wait to hear when the book is published. Even if you are on the other side of the planet, you’ll hear me and Preacher howling hysterically when it’s finally out. Or you can give me your address, and I’ll send a quieter message by email. It occurs to me that many have said you want to know when it’s available but I don’t have your contact info, so…
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