Weymouth Center: A First
I’m not sure what felt more poignant: the thirty-two consecutive minutes during which I lay on my back and stared at the ceiling while listening to the printer spew out my fiction manuscript, or the silence that came afterwards. I rose to my feet, slapped the pages against the desk to align the edges, and set them into the box.
[My first full-length manuscript, pictured here with a tiny boat/book/seed sculpture that a friend made for me, the perfect symbol for sending my stories out into the world.]
Other than the hand off of the manuscript—which will take place at tomorrow night’s awards ceremony in Winston-Salem—the job is done. There is nothing more I can do other than wait. Submitting a full-length manuscript for publication is new terrain for me, and while it’s been a nerve-wracking week because of it, I can at least say I know I’m going to get a good read. This publisher and I have crossed paths professionally for four years. He’s moderated panels I’ve been on. He’s spoken publicly about my work and praised it. He solicited me directly for the manuscript.
Likewise, I’ve watched his press grow over the past four years. I’ve read books they’ve published. I’ve seen how their authors are winning national awards, are well promoted, and are supported by the publisher beyond the initial book release craze. I’ve also seen—and felt reassured by the fact—that about 50% of the authors represented by this press are from the South, and the other 50% are from other parts of the country. This pleases me because I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a regional author. I have two homes, Oregon and North Carolina, and I intend to utilize that to my full advantage in my writing career.
If the publisher says that magic word – yes – I’ll be beside myself with joy. And probably a little bit of terror…perhaps not unlike the feeling my parents had when they dropped me off at college. You do your best, then let the kid/manuscript out into the world. Perhaps I should have warned my stories first that they’re about to be hazed.
Weymouth Center will always be the first place I revised and printed a full-length manuscript. Here’s hoping, my friends, for a swift and positive response. And if such blessings don’t come my way this time, then I hope for the stamina to try and try again. Cheers!