I’m bad at multi-tasking. I can really think about only one thing at a time.
For the last eight months or so, that has been blogging. It was good for me, in what is called “retirement” (meaning you don’t get paid for what you do), to have to sit down every day and come up with a relatively polished post that anyone might see. Blogging gave life structure, purpose, a sense of keeping core skills in use. In time, it also brought virtual friends — in some cases from parts of the world I would not have thought my words would reach — and invitations to come visit. (I wish, I wish.)
But now I confront a dilemma. Several weeks ago, I heard from a New York literary agent. He wrote he had very much enjoyed reading my piece in the Spring 2014 issue of The Iowa Review, called himself a “fan” of my writing and thought I might be publishable. He meant publishable in book form. Open offer: What did I have to send him? He didn’t want collections of short pieces, not at first anyway. He said book publishers would not be interested in collections unless there were a novel or book-length memoir behind it.
I did some research. He’s been around for quite a while. Represents some published names I recognize. Seems to know what he’s talking about.
It just so happens there is “a book” on the hard drive. Half of a first draft of one, anyway. I wrote it on Fridays while still practicing law four days a week, and also during multi-week summer vacations on a small Greek island during the very hot afternoons when it was best to stay in the shade. And then I couldn’t decide how to do the second half, if it in fact needed a second half. Or even if I wanted other people to see it. So I put it away without deciding.
I described it to the agent. He thought we should start there. I asked for six to eight weeks to look it over and clean it up. (My style has changed somewhat since the Greek island, for the better, I think — thanks to blogging.) So that’s where I am.
I have no idea if anything will come of this. But it deserves my best shot. Hence the dilemma. I can’t do blog and book simultaneously. I know there are some WordPress writer/bloggers who can, and do. Alas, we all have our limitations, and this one is mine.
Bottom line: The Getting Old Blog is taking a summer break while I sharpen my metaphorical pencil and get into serious editing. I’ll still be keeping an eye on my Reader. Newer followers have eight months of my archived stuff to explore. And if anyone is really dying to hear from me, there’s always e-mail.
I’ll let you all in on how it turns out when I get back. [I’m not holding my breath. But who knows?] In the meantime, my best wishes for a wonderful summer!