So tell me: what’s your book about?

In Animals, Film, Local projects, Poetry, proto drafts, Querying, Synopsis on May 2, 2014 at 7:42 am

Agents’ websites. The experience: something like window shopping. Some displays deserve a careful look; some prompt a visit inside the store; some are so far removed from my own sensibilities, I pass (or examine for the sense of disconnect they provide.)

In all instances, whether looking at the book covers on display or the site layout or the font, the agents’ photos, words, expectations, requirements, etc, the one constant: can I imagine my characters in this setting. Can I visualize this agent liking my writing, and finding a suitable home for it?

The next step: reading some of those other clients’ work.  All the while, staying both feet well set in my own world, my own interests, my own priorities. I’m not twenty years old and eager to see my words in print, no matter what. I’m not aiming for a first-time in print universal best-seller. I’m aiming for an honorable compromise between my wildest and most cherished dreams and the blunt, straight facts of publishing as a business. I’m aiming for the satisfecit of  jobs well done.


The psychodrama reaches its conclusion: the printer may print the five hundred-copy run of the book on the town’s street arts festival. Decision-making in collective settings makes for vigorous emoting by all parties involved. Plus, folks who like to open their remarks with: THIS STINKS!  don’t guarantee smooth sailing on the good ship lollipop. Notwithstanding + Nonetheless, the rough raft forges on. We have a first-rate printer. Everyone will argue over every other aspect of the book. (I’m tempted to put up the pic of a friend’s dog right here. Why? Because he’s a fine dog. What the hell:


the scarf: a temporary add-on by a reveller.)



Sidebars while I struggle with query letters, synopses, etc:

Sidebar One : Viewing four films by Avi Mograbi to select one or two for possible showing.  Listening to the sounds and rhythms, the inflections, the deadpan humor where humor makes the difference between – ah, between what and what exactly. That is the question I need to resolve for my own purposes.

Sidebar Two : A memory that has me smiling. A ludicrous moment in Montreal. During one of those humid summer heat waves. I stumble into  premises selling fine furniture from a famous European manufacturer. Soggy from the heat and the exertion of lugging two huge shopping bags filled with my latest finds at a second-hand bookstore. Face: red. Hair: glued to my head by sweat. Clothes: no comment. The sales clerk looks appalled. A street person, wandering through the store! She follows the street person who gets so amused by the constant reminders about the cost of these furnishings that the street person points at one item and says: “This one. Can you deliver on Friday?” Said item may still be in my daughter’s living room. I read many a good book while lounging on that day bed.


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