Growing up in a large, religious family, patience was a common topic. Born the fifth of nine children, I learned to wait my turn to use the telephone, shower, and go to the bathroom. My parents taught that patience truly was a virtue, and good things come to those who wait. They also used the word endure a lot.
While my personality was quiet and I seemed like the obedient type, I hated both those words. Patience equaled going without, endure meant to suffer. I didn’t plan on doing either one. Instant gratification on the road of least resistance lured me into a world of lying and deceit. And without a second thought I ran over anyone who got in my way. Friends who didn’t propel me into my idea of popularity were trampled under. My values, beliefs, morals…they only dragged me down and kept me from having fun, so I cut them loose too.
And that’s how I came to be a scared fifteen-year-old girl, standing in front of my mother with head lowered–my shame so heavy I couldn’t bear to look her in the eyes.
“Mom, I’m pregnant.”
I was in such a hurry to grow up that I got exactly what I wanted. So what did I learn about patience? I’ll agree that it is a virtue, but I like another definition better. In the words of a wise 92-year-old woman,
“Patience is…a virgin!”
Two years ago I wrote the story of my teen pregnancy. I attended a writer’s conference and submitted it for review by an agent. The agent said the manuscript was well written, tight, and could see a great need in the marketplace. She offered the advice to “add the fleas on the dog” and make more of the scenes come alive. I took her advice and diligently revised and edited each and every scene to make sure as many as the five senses were covered, as possible. That process spanned an entire year.
After critiquing every chapter with a published author, I felt my memoir was ready for the publishing world. I submitted a query to the agent who had given me such positive feedback and held my breath. She was kind enough to get back to me within 24 hours, but said, “While you did make each scene come alive, as I suggested, I didn’t love the book.”
At first I felt crushed. But after a day or so, I decided not to let it get me down and queried several agents and publishing houses. All had the same response, “Not what we are looking for at this time.”
“What the hell are they looking for?” I thought a well-written, highly marketable book was exactly what publishers want.
After much nudging from friends, family, and other authors, I have decided to self-publish. CreateSpace was highly recommended by other self-publishers. A fickle publishing industry isn’t going to determine my publishing fate. I’ll leave that up to the marketplace and actual readers.
I will update the progress of my book release as the time gets nearer. Cross your fingers and wish me luck!