This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a memoir/personal essay/whatever I first wrote back in my junior year of high school for creative writing class, and then shortened and revised my senior year to use for college essays. While a lot has happened in my life–writing and otherwise–since I was sending this off to colleges this time last year, the moment I talk about here is still really special to me. (Heads up: The name used below for the literary agent is not said-agent’s actual name, for the sake of confidentiality. The woman, in reality, is super, super nice, so I don’t want to portray her in a bad light.)
My entire life, I’ve been searching for forever. Other kids want to be lawyers and doctors, but I just want to be remembered. I want to change the world.
There are many ways to go about achieving this. I could be president, a philanthropist, or an animal rights activist. But while all of these are worthy pursuits, none of them appeal to me individually. Instead, I look at the way books can change people and bring strangers closer together, and I see the effect writing has had on my own life, and I know that this – being a writer – is what I want to do.
In January, 2011, I had the opportunity to fly to New York City to attend the Writer’s Digest Conference and its subsequent pitch slam. They lined the conference room’s walls with tables where writers could sit and discuss their novels with various literary agents and perhaps get a business card, which signified that the agent may be interested in representing their project to publishing houses.
I was so nervous, I felt like I was going to hurl.
My first pitch was with a woman named Wanda Wrath, who was severe looking with a last name to match. Upon laying eyes on me, the only minor there, she raised her thin, dark eyebrows and said skeptically, “Hello, what do you have for me today?”
I hesitated a second before sitting down at her table, and forced a smile as I introduced myself. She leaned back in her chair and I noticed her nails were blood red. Perfect.
“Continue,” she murmured.
With a deep breath, I read my pitch and tried to keep my hands from shaking. When I finished, her fingers inched toward her stack of business cards, but then moved away. I felt something die within me.
She didn’t speak for a moment, and my pulse spiked in fear, but then she finally cracked a smile and said, “Well, I think your plot is really intriguing and I’d like to definitely read some of it.”
I didn’t take my eyes off her as she picked a business card up and examined it before sliding it across the table to me. My stomach flipped over.
Genuinely smiling, she said, “I can’t wait to hear from you!”
“Thank you!” I stood up, practically dancing.
Although I received seven more business cards by the end of the pitch slam, none of them mattered as much as the first. I proved myself with it; I not only wanted to be a writer, but I was – and am – one.
Now, as I wait to hear back from a literary agent reading my full manuscript, I dream about how I’ll change the world… While I know my destination, I don’t know what hurdles I’ll have to overcome to reach it and I have a feeling that college will best prepare me to take them on.
My entire life, I’ve been searching for forever. I think college will help me find it.
Talk to you next week! (If I haven’t already been eaten alive by research papers!)