Sunday, October 31, 2010

10/10 in my Rearview

October was a busy month. On the personal level, it's the month of my wife's birthday (as well as her sister's) and our family goes all-out for birthdays. I don't call it a "birth month" for nothing.

Then, it's been all-go on the Halloween front, with my middle son decoratiing the front of our house in his inimitable fashion. Let's just say that plastic flies in a puddle of fake barf is the least of it... (Costume note: Middle is going to be a vampire, and Youngest a Pirate. Oldest thinks this is all, at 14, beneath him.)

There was also a sad note. A 13-year-old girl at our church died on the 19th. She suffered from myotonic dystrophy, but was an amazing force of life. We have all been mourning Leona, while celebrating her life, these past couple of weeks.

Two writers who have died this month: Eva Ibbotson and Stephen Cannell. (Actually, I see that Stephen Cannell died on September 30, but it seems more recent.). Ibbotson was a tremendous writer whom I have long admired (she had a mysterious Kings Cross platform in one of her novels several years before J.K. Rowling made Kings Cross the most famous railway station in the world). And Stephen Cannell once spoke at the Willamette Writers annual conference. What struck me about him was that he was dyslexic and told (by a teacher, I think) that he wouldn't amount to a hill of beans, let alone be a writer. Yet he persevered and went on to have a highly successful career.

Perseverance is my key word as we head into November. I've sent out a couple of queries on my latest novel and had swift form rejections from two agents. I'm hoping that they just don't "do" my kind of stories, rather than it's my writing that stinks. But hey, I wouldn't be a writer if I wasn't prone to spiralling self-doubt and bouts of self-induced melancholy, would I? And it's all grist for the mill, eh?


  1. Perserverance -- AMEN! Richard Bach (wasn't it? I might be wrong) said a professional writer was an amateur who didn't quit.

    PLEEEASE God send us a productive and peaceful November! Thanks for the good word Michael!

  2. Two good ones!

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  3. That whole King's Cross thing??? When my kids read HP the first time, they kept exclaiming at all the 'borrowed' devices they recognized from other Brit fiction...they enjoyed the story, but recognized that Rowling was standing on the shoulders of the imaginative who went before.

    Congratulations for finishing something and sending it out! Persevere!

  4. Best of luck with the submissions. Can I ask what the novel is about?

  5. NO! not Cannell!
    I just adore him
    oh I can't believe his words are silenced forever....
    keep throwing the spagettti at the wall...
    that novel will stick somewhere it is supposed to

  6. Thanks, all of you, for being in my corner.

    Suz, Cannell was amazing when I heard him speak. Inspirational and witty.

    SouthLakesMom, your children are very wise.

    DanPloy, my novel (titled Shakespeare on the Lam )has this logline: "A skateboard-loving sixth grader and his theater-obsessed older sister travel through time to save Shakespeare from the executioner's axe." It's for the 9-12 set.


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