Friday, March 26, 2010

Believe: If you don't, who the hell will?

I, Candyland, hereby name Elana Johnson my good luck charm.

Okay, seriously.

After an amazing interview with loads of new faces dropping in, I had a bit of a mishap. I was so giddy blogging away, smiling so much my face hurt, ignoring the carpal tunnel tightening my grip, I forgot about something. A query. To a really amazing agent. My dream agent, actually. And guess what happened? Can you guess? Can you?

She rejected me.

It was a personal note, nice, but still. Giddiness went sour, smile faded but face still sore, and the carpal tunnel has officially taken my right hand hostage. This post is being typed with my left hand and is taking FOREVER. So if there's grammatical errors, punctuation, clarity, uh sorry.

So anyway, after a wonderful day, I started really doubting my abilities. Again. Oh self-doubt, why do I loathe thee? Better yet, why do I succumb to you? You're not hot, you don't treat me well and you're broke.

I think life has giveth and a taketh aways. Like this:
Had coffee. Got a stomach ache. Great blog/new followers. Query rejection by number one on my list. Had Taco Bell. Had emergency bathroom break. Felt like a fatty trying on outfits for Saturday's reception in Chicago (btw congrats TJ and Jill). Got home to super crazy mood lifter which leads me to my point....

I posted awhile back about Sourcebooks/Teenfire Writing Contest, in which I became a semi-finalist. It was crazy exciting because I've seriously never gotten close to winning anything except a Boyz II Men dance contest. And that was only 2nd place. If you think I'm joking, read on.

It was at the Boys and Girls Club, in uh, not the best neighborhood. I was nine and alone. Mom dropped me off in the hood, wearing my dance tights and leotard with high tops. I was too cool for school. Let me first say, (after I've already said a lot) I am white and Puerto Rican mixed. This contest, with girls twice my age, were, uh, darker than me. In fact, I was the lightest person in the auditorium. But you know what? I threw it down. To Motown Philly, in those squeaky high tops and dance tights and leotard, alone. Got a standing "O" and 2nd place.

Still looking for the point? Me too.

Back to the contest. The results are revealed on March 31st. Seven finalists and I may or may not be one. It's hard not to get my hopes up, coming so close to another second place victory. Had I not believed in myself to compete at age nine, in a totally unfamiliar place, I never would have made it out alive. But I did believe.

After receiving a rejection from someone I'd hoped to have a long term relationship with, (taketh away), the gods shined down one more time (giveth).

My novel beginning, 9:59 REWIND, is one of five examples YALitChat's Georgia McBride used when describing why/how she picked semi-finalists.

What she says of 9:59 REWIND...
"Gut-wrenching, life-changing, you-know-it-when-you-see-it kind of a book."

To read the entire post, GO HERE.

I mean, WOWEE-WOW. Never saw that coming! I've been holding a trickle of pee the length of this post because I'm THAT excited. "But you haven't won anything, Candyland," you might say. Oh yes I have. The recognition that I'm doing something right. All those doubts eating my brain, all the times the little voices tell me to quit, all the freaking rejections, can all SUCK IT. Oh wait. That's not what a good sport says. What I mean is, I'm proud of myself, and I've only said that a handful of times in my life:

-When I got that 2nd place trophy that broke as soon as I got home
-When I got a record deal (it was crap and got me nowhere, but still)
-When I had my baby girl
-When I lost my pregnancy weight (and then gained it back and lost part of it and gained it...)
-When I saw Georgia's post

What I'm trying to spit out, people, is believe in yourself. If you don't, no one will. Now go enter a Boys and Girls Club dance contest and post your results.

Oh, and one more question. What have you doubted, about yourself? How do you overcome the little voice that says you can't?


MeganRebekah said...

I haven't been closely following Georgia's finalists, so I missed this.
Congrats! That's such a great honor.
And as for rejection from dream agent - don't be deterred. Your real dream agent is the one who loves your book as much as you do :)

Sherrie Petersen said...

Congratulations! Now you've got a nice little something to add to the end of your query letter to the next dream agent :)

Unknown said...

Congrats! What a great thing to have said about your work, even if your dream agent rejected you. If you haven't already, I'd go read Elana's post about dream agents, because she's right, the real dream agent is the one who is totally in love with your book, not the one you think is the most awesome. :)

Good luck querying!

Elana Johnson said...

Dude, congrats!! Just popped over to Georgia's and then back! Congrats!

Tahereh said...

what a stellar post. loved it. also: you are hilarious.


Dianne K. Salerni said...


The path to your heart's desire might start in an unexpected place and head off in a direction you didn't expect before leading you exactly where you wanted to go.

Congratulations on your success in the YALitchat contest so far -- I hope you make it all the way!

Candyland said...

I want to give you all hugs and chocolates. Thank you.

Patti said...

I used to have dream agents, but then I read Elana's blog and now I agree with Megan, a dream agent is the one who loves your book.