Friday, January 19, 2018



January 17, 2018

Dear Ellen,

The fashionably late arrival of your response to my email last weekend was a pleasant and timely surprise!  Months ago I pictured you clicking it disdainfully into a digital trashcan immediately after reading the first few sentences of my manuscript excerpt.  I tried to convince myself that it might have gotten sucked up by a spam filter due to my use of “Howdy” and “TX” in the subject line.  I’m horrible at being persistent if I’m not sure it’s welcome, so I didn’t bother following up.  But even if I never heard back, I was already planning to re-emphasize my appreciation for our communion and conversation at the Bandwagon Brewpub in Ithaca, NY back in September— as part of Project Gratitude 2018.  I guess now is as good a time as any.

Nothing turns a lonely meal into a memorable one like the company of another thinker, an equally curious and literarily inclined mind.  Our discussion got me thinking about the novel I wrote nearly ten years ago, and hadn’t touched in at least five.  As a result, I actually finished up another pass of the text last weekend.  I didn’t remember until after sending you the first four chapters that those first four were the only four I actually finished converting to present tense years ago.  I might have finished up the labor-intensive conversion few weeks earlier if not for the fact that I’ve been pretty busy writing letters.  But it might not have happened at all if not for our conversation in September.

It was interesting reading something I wrote ten years ago with fresh eyes.  It still has a lot of me in it, but it’s interesting to realize how different the me that wrote it was from the me that reads it now.  It made me all the more eager to finalize it and move on.  I won’t be able to stop thinking of ways to improve the story until I’m able to stop thinking of ways to improve myself, and I have a lot of room for improvement.  Once this story is bound, I’ll feel free to move on to the others that wait to be told.

Through my letters I’m committing to publishing In Verse this year, one way or another.  The next pass will, as usual, be primarily to fix things I screwed up during the last round, as well as to format it for the publishing company (still TBD.)  Let me know if you have any recommendations in that realm.  I’m not betting on Harper or Penguin . . . more like LuLu or BookBaby.  When you’ve found a warm spot in sunny Arizona and are really ready to look at it, I’ll send you a freshened up sample.  It might not be better, but it will likely be a little different.

Safe travels and thanks again,


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