Today started off in a bit of a cloud.
I had spent most of the weekend tied to the computer, trying to find a position, trying to find a job. In fact, after meeting with a friend on Saturday, he and I discussed what steps I should take, and one of them was to take teaching off the table, for now, in my job hunt. The fact is, getting into a teaching post is probably one of the most frustrating things I have ever tried to do in my entire life, and it’s been a struggle since getting my original license to teach in Maine back in 2006. Time and time and time again, I have submitted applications to schools in both close-by and far-away places, reaching, hoping for something to bite. Each time I put all of my energy into the cover letter, the application, the essay questions, and all the rigamarole that has to happen with each attempt to reach out. It’s a myriad of emotions, of responses, and in the end, it has gotten me nowhere.
The small school I may have mentioned earlier? Yeah, no follow-through. Not even an email thanking me for my time. Just nothing. And this has happened over and over again. I’m beating my head against a very thick, very tall, very old wall, and, like in so many Augusts that have come and gone in the past, I’m at my wits end with it all.
So, I hit the job lists. I re-upped my resume on Monster. I have been searching using indeed.com. I am looking at want ads all over the place. I have applied to posts as far away as Bellingham, Washington, and as far south as I dare go from here. I have applied to posts in Boston, New York, and have been even looking in Maine. I have watched the lists in Denver too, knowing Amanda would take me back in a heart beat. Still, nothing.
Today, when I woke up, I poured myself a “cup of ambition,” as Dolly Parton sang, and sat down to do it all over again. About an hour into it though, my eyes glazed over, and I thought it would be better to go out for a run.
And it was.
At the end of the run, as I synced all of my information to Nike, and responded on Facebook to those friends of mine who cheered me along, my e-mail notification went off. In my inbox was a response from a publisher I had written to over a month ago about my manuscript. It turns out they had reviewed my query letter, and now I was being asked to submit a book proposal. They wanted a letter that summarized the story, gave my thoughts on marketing and ideas for how long the book was, who I wanted to sell it to, and how.
A real, live book proposal.
Of my writing.
Needless to say, that became the end-all-be-all of my day today. I walked home with the biggest grin my face has had in a very, very long time. Caleb was out in the garage, working away at his project out there, when he saw me coming up the drive way. When I told him what I had received, his eyes got as big as mine were, and he congratulated me on the achievement. I told him that, no, it didn’t mean I was going to get published. But, I said, it was an step forward. It was a step I never, ever saw coming, though secretly had been wanting for a very long time.
All day long, I sweat over the cover letter. Which four chapters would I send them? Who would actually read my writing? Why? And on and on it went. Thankfully, I have some amazing connections with Goddard, and one of my former classmates was happy to read over the cover letter and offer some suggestions. By five o’clock tonight, I had chosen the chapters I wanted to send, copied over the revised cover letter, and bam – I submitted my first book proposal.
I have to keep reminding myself that this doesn’t mean I’m being published. It doesn’t mean that I have a book deal and all that. In fact, the press I’d be working with is a small one, based here in Portland, with ties to one of the colleges here. It’s an actual press, but it would be students in the publishing program that they offer who would be handling my book in all it’s details.
As an educator, this makes me happy. As a writer, this feeling is sublime. I truly feel just a little bit more justified. I feel validated. Even if I get rejected, someone wanted to know more, and someone has re-lit a fire inside me about all of this.
It’s back to the job lists and hunting tomorrow, but for today, that proposal felt amazing.