The Book of My Right Now

Sometimes our dramatic landscape shows itself in subtler shades. Sunday evening’s storm reduced the mountains to grayscale, with all of the interesting outlines that brings. This is a piece of the ridged horizon I usually show you, my blog-gobblers, just with different perspective.

(I’m also getting better at my telephoto lens.)

When I was a kid, my mom loved to come down to Santa Fe, Phoenix and Tucson for warm-weather breaks. They were within easy striking distance of Denver and she has always loved the desert. Even then I was struck by the way the light down here makes the mountains look two-dimensional. I wrote terrible poetry in my adolescence, as adolescents are wont to do, and I seem to recall that one line went “the mountains are a cardboard cut-out, propped against the western sky.” Good set-design makes you believe a flat is three-dimensional, but the real world doesn’t always have depth.

I find it interesting to think about, but maybe that’s just me.

Kelly Breaky likes to tease me about my interest in perspective, and I suppose she’s right that it’s one of my core “issues.” I often say I’m a grey-area kind of gal. Very rarely am I willing to commit to the absolute yes or no on a scale.

For this reason, I have trouble with writers who talk about their “Dream Agent” or the “Book of Their Heart.” Actually, I never heard the term “the Book of My Heart” until I started hanging with more of the romance community. Granted, we’re more about expressions of love and passion than some other genres, but it’s still an odd idea to me, that there’s one book we’ve written that we treasure above all others. I loved Obsidian, but now I think The Body Gift is a better book. I tend to be passionately in love with whichever book I’m currently writing, in fact.

The Dream Agent hits me the same way. I don’t believe there is such a person for me. I can think of quite a few agents that I think do great work, any of whom I’d be delighted to have represent me. But then, I don’t believe in a One True Love, either. I think each of us probably could have wonderful lifelong relationships with any number of people. Each person and relationship is different and brings something new. Sure, we can’t fall in love and treasure just any person off the street. But the pool is bigger than just one.

The romantic in us loves the idea of the Dream Agent, the Book of Our Hearts, the Happily Ever After. But the practical person in us, who lives in a three-dimensional world, knows that everything runs deeper than that. What is right now, may not be right later.

All we can do is make the best possible choices, given the information we have right now.

The best part about life and the way it always changes? Nothing is truly permanent. If other paths are meant to be, they’ll show up, too.

Just wait for the light to change and show you something different.

9 Replies to “The Book of My Right Now”

  1. lOVE THIS! I have no dream agent either and all my books are books of the heart or I wouldn't have written them- and don't ask me to pick one hero over another. I love them all!

  2. Right there with you. I don't think you can write a book that isn't emotionally meaningful to you (ergo a book of your heart). I suppose you could force something out – I just doubt it would live and breathe on its own.

  3. At one time I thought I had a dream agent, but then the more I became involved in my writing, the more I realized that…I just want someone who believes in me, believes in my work, and wants to get me the best deal possible. That's a dream agent, not a particular person because what are the odds that you'll mesh well together?

    And the book of my heart is whatever I'm currently working on. I'm on my 6th manuscript and they've all been the books of my heart becuase I care about them and want them to do well. Just like children. You can't love one more than the other.

  4. I can only speak from personal experience. I've written seven novels, four of which will be published in these next twelve months. I am passionate about all of them for different reasons, but I clearly have a book of my heart.

    I call it that because writing it was an exercise in blood, sweat and tears. Getting it published was more difficult than anything else I've ever done. I knew that it would be an ugly step-child of two genres…historical fiction and fantasy. I knew it was a marketing nightmare even as I wrote it, but I couldn't stop, even though it was not conducive to my career, even though I would have to write it under a different pen name. It is the book that landed me my agent and a two-book contract from Berkley. But it has been a struggle every step of the way.

    There are other books I have put in a drawer, never to see the light of day. But this book, I would not, could not give up on, and that's what made it the book of my heart.

    There may be another book down the line that I write that is better, or more personal, or maybe even one that I love more than I love LILY OF THE NILE, but until that one comes along, this is the book of my heart even if its schmaltzy to say so!

  5. Oh dear. I agree with everybody. Stephanie, I have a book like that, for which I am currently trying to find an agent. It is a genre bending misfit, and the writing of it was one of the most difficult and wonderful things I have done during my life. I love it and will always love it. And yet, like Jeffe, I have a book of the Right Now which occupies my thoughts and my emotions and makes me buzz with excitement. There are so many different ways to love.

    As for an agent? I see it as a partnership – I want mutual respect, trust, and published books – no need for a kindred spirit.

  6. Marcella – I agree. A book has to come from your heart or it's a dead thing.

    Danica, I thought of it being like children, too. There might be special things about certain ones, but you love them all. And I like your practical approach to the dream-agent!

    Thanks Elizabeth!

    Stephanie – thanks for sharing your story. That, more than anything I've heard, helps me understand the "book of my heart" concept. I'm so pleased you persevered and won out!

    I think you have it, Kerry – all the perspectives are true. And I think you're looking for exactly the right thing.

  7. Another great post and I got a mention. I feel like I have finally arrived.

    I love your perspective because most people are afraid to step outside of the pack and just be who they are meant to be.

    You, my friend, are not.

    I too have a story that means more to me than the others I have completed. It was my first and while it was easy to write. I had no preconceived notions. I wasn't writing to get it published. In fact the idea of publishing was so far removed for me that it never entered my head. Now I am compelled to go home and re-read it tonight to see if I can pinpoint exactly why it is my favorite.


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