Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Please Accept My Offering

A couple of days ago, Patches, my cat, was chasing something on the patio, so I went outside to rescue what I figured was a baby mouse. Before I could stop the cat she had the baby in her mouth and brought it to me, proud of her skills enabling her to catch the elusive critter. Only it wasn’t a mouse; it was a baby quail.

Of course, I got excited and started yelling at the cat as she attempted to bring her treasure into the house. I shook Patches until she finally dropped the baby that then raced off to escape the evil creature trying to eat him/her. I tried to grab the quail to see if it was okay and take it to the local bird sanctuary if it was injured, but the bird raced into the clumps of liriope and I lost it. In the meantime the stray cat that’s living on the patio (because I’m feeding him) took off after the baby. Moving faster than I’ve moved since I was a teenager, I shoved Patches into the house, chased the stray cat out of the yard, and hoped the quail was in a safer place by then.

Patches is now quarantined in the house as long as I hear the “Bob White, Bob White,” call of the quail in the pasture. She’s ignoring me for spoiling her fun. And I’m keeping a sharp eye on the stray cat.

Okay, if you’re still with me you’re probably wondering has Beverly totally flipped? What does a cat chasing a bird, the normal thing for a cat to do, have with reading and writing? Well, I’ll tell you. (You were afraid of that, right?)

Patches used her skills and talents to catch the bird. She had to work to accomplish her task. The bird was elusive and perhaps didn’t follow the path the cat expected it to follow. It wasn’t easy, but she never gave up. Then she offered me her masterpiece. What did I do? I rejected her offering. And she was crushed. No kidding. She sat at the door and looked outside, as if trying to figure out what she had done wrong. She wanted acceptance. A little praise would have been nice too. Why did I not like the offering she’d so happily given to me?

In much the same way, we writers use our skills and talents to put together our masterpieces. We search for the right characters. We set them in the plot that we think is right for them. For weeks, months, and even years we tag along with the characters as they go different directions. Finally, one day we type THE END, sigh with relief, and offer our masterpiece to the agent or editor that will surely love our story the way we love it. With fingers crossed we wait for our offering to be accepted and, yes, we’d like a little praise too.

Then one “No thanks” arrives. A second “Not right of us” follows. Another and another. We read the letters or emails and wonder what we did wrong. Why don’t they accept our offering? I rejected the cat’s offering because as a bird lover, I don’t want her to kill birds. Agents and editors have their reasons too, but that’s another post. The thing to remember is never give up. No, I’ll never accept a bird from Patches, but someone else might. One editor may not accept my manuscript; another one might. So I will continue sending my offerings. How about you?

Patches likes to read.




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