Saturday, March 17, 2012

Priority Mail

Last Monday I went to the post office. 
Okay, so does that opening line grab you? 
That opening line makes me feel queazy in my throat. It causes little sweat balls to form on my forehead. It makes my stomach turn flips and flops. It gives me little tremors in my fingers.
Last Monday, March 12, 2012, I took a pile of papers—query letter, first two chapters, outline, synopsis and a stamped return envelope—to the post office. 
I hunted around the lobby and finally found the Priority Mail envelopes. My hands shook. I put all my papers inside the Priority Mail envelope and sealed it. I used the Sharpie Marker I brought with me to carefully address the mailer. Shaking, afraid I’d misspell the literary agent’s name. What if I miswrote the address, I could be waiting on pins and needles for years while my memoir was sitting in the back of a grocery store in Hoboken, New Jersey. Checked it again. Okay. Her name was spelled correctly. The address was good. New York, New York is a wonderful town.
Six people were ahead of me in line. I stood there. My fingers vibrated uncontrollably, I could have played a mandolin. A dark-haired cute—no, really hot—young guy was in line behind me. Brown eyes, sweet, maybe thirty, maybe fifteen, a distraction for my frayed nerves.
“Could I please borrow your Sharpie?” he said, and then continued with some other words.
I handed him my pen and smiled, forgetting my shakes for a moment. While he wrote on his package, I looked at mine again. I flipped my Priority Mail envelope over. On the back side was a space for the Sender and a space for the Addressee. Why would it be on the back? OH SHIT!
The line in front of me was down to three people. The line behind me was up to ten. I asked Hotty to save my spot. I hurried to grab another Priority Mail envelope. Ripped open PM envelope #1. Took out my pages. Wrote the address, hurried—but careful. Get it right. Get it right. 

My numbers up, I told Hotty to go ahead of me. Did I spell the literary agent’s name right. Check twice. Got everything into the envelope. Look at both sides again. Seal it.
My turn.
Hands shaking, I handed the clerk the envelope. Stammered about Delivery Confirmation. Shaking. Did she wonder about me—what was this woman putting in the United States Mail? Did Ted Kaczynski cross her mind? No, I guess not. She gave me my receipt and I left the post office.
The package arrived at the literary agents at 10:19, March 14th. Now I’ll wait around, revise the book some more. Get ready for the day she sends an email, or a note in my self-address return envelope. Ugh. Will she want to see the whole book, all 218 pages? Will she not be interested? We’ll see. Writing was the fun part. This isn’t.
I thought about not posting this until I had an answer in six to eight weeks. But what are friends for anyway? 

So friends, how about some crossed fingers, prayers, a little voodoo, whatever...