Sunday, May 8, 2016

Attack of the Smuglies, Query Count, I’m Taking a Workshop!

This time of year, I always brace myself for the inevitable onslaught of smug Mother’s Day articles full of pious humble brags about how selfless motherhood has made the writer, and what purity of soul her sacrifices have rendered, and how childless women like me may think we’re getting away with something, but in the end, we’ll get our comeuppance when we’re forced to face the Terrible Realization that we’re selfish witches who will never know love. It usually starts out with some polemic about how self-involved and shallow the author was before she gave birth, as evidenced by her running around Sex-in-the-City style, obsessed with brunch and shoe-shopping, until she gazed into the face of her newborn and Everything Changed. These are usually shored up by the equally dull and offensive articles that trump up the dollar value of stay-at-home-moms by comparing them to professionally trained chefs, chauffeurs, physicians and therapists. (Don’t everyone pile on—I have nothing against stay-at-home moms, but putting a bandage on a cut does not a pediatrician make.) 

If you’re a mom and you’re happy about it, I’m genuinely thrilled for you. I commend anyone brave enough to deliver a life into this world and attempt to mold it into a functional human being. But can we please stop with the overworked “mothers are selfless and spiritually enlightened/non-mothers are shallow and self-involved” narrative? Can we kindly stop fostering the idea that the only legitimate form of love is between a parent and a child, and that no other kind is real or meaningful?  And while we’re on the topic, maybe we can acknowledge that perhaps some of us are capable of accessing selflessness, generosity of spirit, and the impulse to serve our community without being forced into it through becoming a parent. Gah. Rant over. I’ve sworn off the internet until the end of Mother’s Day.

In writing news (since I’m selfishly childless and have time for stuff like that), I sent off another novel query yesterday. That makes a total of thirteen since early December, with two rejections, seven no-responses, and three outstanding beacons of hope that were sent too soon to be considered non-responses, and have not yet been rejected. Hooray! With this whole query process, I am walking a thin line between much-needed optimism and Not Getting My Hopes Up.  Not Getting My Hopes Up was a grand theme of my childhood, as I was often admonished not to do so, but it turns out that my hopes have a mind of their own, and they get up. They just do. They’re like wild horses; I can’t control them. My plan is to keep sending out one query a week until I get a bite. And after a period of time, if there are no bites, I believe in this novel enough to figure out an alternative.

In the meantime, I’m tinkering around with the Wolfpine Glen stuff. I have no idea where this series is going, or how fast I’ll be producing content, but right now, for me, it’s really just a way of entertaining myself and staying engaged in writing through pure play. I’ve been harboring thoughts of perhaps once day turning it into a audio drama. And bam!—it turns out there is a local workshop coming up on writing audio dramas, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to go. I’ve always loved audio dramas, and really want to learn how to write them. So I think I’m going to actually leave the house on a Saturday and go and meet other humans and learn something. It’s a far cry from my normal Saturday routine of holing up with Tomb Raider and shutting out the world…but my hopes are up that it will be worth it.

--Kristen McHenry 

1 comment:

Jo-Ann said...

I am just tired of the whole Mothers are Saints theme. They are not. They are human.I truly wish they would demolish both mother's and father's day. The only thing the celebrations really serve are the Hallmark et al industries. Otherwise they just increase guilt in those who have a lovely mom/dad (because they havent given back enough in appreciation) or grief in those whose mothers/fathers have died or, alternatively, could have used some extra training in their parental specialty.