categories: Bad Advice / Cocktail Hour
My long-time agent and old friend Betsy Lerner has often offered wise counsel. For some reason (perhaps to be revealed at a later date), tonight I’m remembering a time before the turn of the millennium, my first novel (The Smallest Color) about to sell after its protracted season of rejections. I was on the road, in a motel somewhere near Palm Springs, CA, quail running everyplace. Phone booth in the sun, door open for the heat, children playing in an emptied pool. And news: Dawn Seferian, a senior editor at Counterpoint, had expressed an interest in the book, and was taking it to her board. I’d have to wait two weeks to hear what turned out to be good news. But in that moment Betsy said, “Don’t get your hopes up, but don’t get them down, either.” And that’s what allowed me to breathe in the breach.
(This reminds me some of Nina De Gramont’s quote from Isak Dinesen in an earlier Bad Advice: “Write a little every day without hope or despair.”)