The nasturtiums are blooming, the dahlias are coming up, there are no new turtles in the yard, and the echinacea and gayfeather had green flowerheads, and are all standing around waiting for somebody to break and color first.
Some of you may recall some potentially exciting news I mentioned in passing awhile back, or not. Anyway, the news is--I appear to have acquired a literary agent.
While I knew such beings existed, I had never actually spoken to one, or considered getting one. An agent to get my work in galleries, maybe. (A friend of mine attempted to do so, but was ultimately foiled by the need to get a real job.) But literary? My identity is tangled up in being an artist--writing is sort of a thingy I do, y'know, as an adjunct to art. What would I do with an agent? I wasn't looking for one by any means.
However, a buddy of mine is the reasonably big name romance writer Sabrina Jeffries,* and she was at a romance writer convention, (I suppose, had I thought about it, I would have known they had conventions) and was regaling the table with tales of her wacky artist friend, who had dutifully read a romance novel, and then said "Okay, let me get this straight--the book is just about these two people and the love thing and all that? Nothing else? I mean, nothing actually happens?”
Apparently, rather than being mortally offended and coming after me with Regency-era pitchforks, the assembled romance writers and agents thought this was hysterical, and one of them was asking about this wacky artist friend, and Deb mentions that said wacky friend does a cartoon or drawings or something, (I assume most romance writers have about as much comprehension of the world of the indie webcomic as I do of the world of romance writers) and was really crazy, and did this one painting of a mouse riding a brain...and hey, here was my website...
Happily oblivious to all this, I trucked along in my own little world, whereupon in rapid succession I got e-mail and phone call from a terribly excited agent, who wanted to know if I was represented, ("Represented?" sez I. "I write these things and put 'em on the net now and again. Occasionally someone takes pity on me and publishes them. I've never even spoken to an agent." "You're now speaking to an agent." she said. "Cool. I'll update my resume!")
I am told that when an otherwise staid and respectable agent calls you whooping "MY GOD, I'VE STRUCK GOLD!" this is considered promising. (And she is quite a reputable agent--I checked--and in fact the agent Deb said she'd want to go through if her current one is ever struck by lightning. She does a lot of kid's books, and is associated with Ahmet Zappa's books in some fashion. Appears to be the Real Thing and everything.) Where had I been hiding? What rock had I been lurking under? Where had all of these wonderful creatures that begged to be made into small plastic choking hazards as movie tie-ins come from?
Like many people, I'm surprisingly willing to listen to perfect strangers tell me I'm a genius, so we had a nice chat, and I directed her to some amusing bits on my website. She asked if she could show my work to some people, and I said sure, and sent her some stuff and a copy of Digger, and she bought a fairly big painting, and at that point, I figured, hey, I've sold art, even if nothing more comes of this, I'm ahead of the game.
And then Con madness and turtles in the yard and James got whooping cough or something and really, after the first day or two I stopped thinking about it. Life goes on.
And then she called me again last night, to say she had been showing my work to people at the Book Expo, some agents in other countries were very interested in foreign versions of Digger, and they, too, wanted to know where the heck I had been hiding. Had I done anything with Nurk? or the Little Capybara? The stories were floating around in the mental aether? Condense them! Write them! This is the stuff animated movies were made of! In fact, go see kid's movies! She'd send me a list. Yes, if your agent tells you to do it, it's a tax write-off.
"So, uh, are you my agent, then?" I asked. "GOD, YES!" the phone shouted. Much like either Digger or Keanu Reeves, depending on your metaphor of choice, I said "Whoa. Cool."
So I have no idea if this will lead anywhere, or if it'll just be another peculiar footnote in my existence, but apparently I have an agent. I cannot, I confess, take any of this even remotely seriously--I have never been one of those people who talks about what actor they want to play which character, and even the very notion of film rights makes me roll my eyes madly. And I secretly disbelieve that even a big agent could get a kid's book set in the Mayan hell published. But hey, you never know.
I sat down today to see if I could write Nurk's story, and eight pages came out surprisingly easily. So maybe it's not impossible.
Still, it's fun to dream.
*Better known as "Deb, at the coffee shop, with the stories about leprosy."