Only a really silly person would venture out into community two days in a row when they are clearly in a super gloomy mental fog. I mean, if I'd personally found the end of the rainbow and a leprechaun had given me a pot of gold, I still might have been like, "Yeah, but I just feel kind of sad…" so I had no business leaving home that day. And especially when there wasn't even a rainbow or a leprechaun involved.
In fact, my husband said to me, "Are you sure you should go? Why don't you just stay home?" And I said, "I should go. And besides, I don't think I could feel worse." Read back through that sentence and think about it. It's a terrible argument. I don't think I could feel worse? These are clearly the words of a person who needs to go for a walk by them-self and pray, and stare at trees, and listen to birds, and maybe call an oldest and dearest friend while drinking coffee. This is not a person who needs to go sit down with writing agents and receive critiques. No. NOT TODAY!!! But that's what I did.
The first agent I sat down with was helpful and pleasant. But remember how I said in part II of my retrospective tale of woe, that when some people walk into a beautiful garden they only see the spiders and slugs? And remember how I said that I was in that terrible frame of mind? Well, that's why I came away thinking not about the first agent and how helpful and pleasant she was. No— instead I thought almost exclusively about what the second agent said to me that day.
The second agent… hated me. You think I'm exaggerating. I am not. I very rarely believe someone hates me. But I'm telling you I believe she did. She didn't just hate my stories (though she very clearly hated them). She hated me because I wrote them. Okay, okay— I can't really claim a person hates me unless I can see into their mind, but I can confidently tell you that the word "HOSTILE" floated through my mind in big bold letters as she spoke to me. You may recall an example I gave in part II of my retrospective tale of woe— the way that some people are determined to assume the very worst possible meaning behind whatever is said to them. You might be sitting with them at the movies and say, "this should be interesting," and they will say, "What's that supposed to mean?" At which point your mind will start spinning as you wonder how your simple statement could have possibly meant anything other than…"THIS SHOULD BE INTERESTING." These are the people who, when you say, "I like your new haircut," they respond with, "So you thought I looked bad before?"
This agent saw meanings behind my stories that I would never intend or imagine... since I'm not an Orc or an evil sorceress, or an oversized, three-headed rabid dog. I'm just a person who likes to write and paint, hoping to encourage others. But the hostile agent was clearly not encouraged…
Not every day is full of cotton candy and happiness, and if it were, we would all have stomach aches. But the truth is that if my head had been in the right place—if I had been focused on the way God loves me and the way he loves other people—including the hostile agent who (I believe) hated my books and myself—then I probably would not have been so thoroughly knocked down by this woman's opinions. Next time I'll stay home and go for a walk.