The drama in the workshop was not in my mind! I gave a “waiter” a ride to the airport and she gave me the skinny on an interpersonal drama taking place. It had nothing to do with me not understanding that one piece. Lesson made available (I will not say learned): off behavior in one’s proximity is rarely about you. (Exception: If you suspect someone treating you oddly is homophobic–no eye contact, refusal to engage anything you say while enthusiastically engaging the straight people in the vicinity–they probably are. Beware the gaslight.)
So as I leave I commit myself to doing the persistent thing: I will contact the agents, the editors, etc., I will submit work, I will show up for events, I will communicate with people I have met here. What I don’t come away with is optimism. I’ve been through the mill already, and one big lesson here has been that sometimes it’s time to move on. It’s been wonderful to be taken seriously by people I respect, and who are way more accomplished than I am. But the reality is there are many voices fighting for the light (here, voices are plants larded with chlorophyll, waiting to grow). Mine is a niche voice, with a not-so-profitable audience.
But I like it.
I like to write. I don’t think I was deluded about Red Dot; I think I was happy with it! It’s a fun book and I could tell other people enjoyed it and that really floats my boat! The actual writing, that keeps my hope alive. That’s where I am optimistic. I can produce the books I want to read but cannot find. So… maybe I really do channel my time and energy into a more practical direction: self publishing. After all, light falls everywhere, and there is no reason I can’t grab some too.