Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bedpans and Literary Agents


My 70 year old father landed in the hospital last week. He had a thoracic aortic aneurysm. He knew he had it, but waited until there was no other option before getting it fixed. It had swollen to about the size of a nerf football. Which made it much more dangerous that it usually is, which is to say. REALLY dangerous. They took him in for surgery Monday, my birthday. (ohhh yippee)

My wife and I have always lived close to my parents. At first it was out of convenience, then through investment (purchasing a house), and most recently because they are getting older. Because of this, I’m the signatory of all the medical stuff, etc. and the one to let my siblings know what’s happening.

I preparation for the operation, they did a chemical stress test. When the pictures didn’t come out well due to the size of the aneurysm, they did a second and in my layman’s mind, gave him a heart attack. Nitro pills, shots and a NO visitors ruling, say that to me at least. Three of my siblings had not been to see him yet, so when this no visitor thing came down I asked carefully. “None? As in, no one?”  “Just your mom, and you, since you are on the paperwork.”

I dutifully let the three know and that’s when things got really interesting.  While two of them accepted it, one immediately called the hospital, apparently sure that I was lying to them in a devious plan to prevent them from seeing our dad. It got even more interesting when the nurses station had not gotten the doctors orders before they called. Then they were sure it was the case. Accusatory texts flew, phone calls to explain were refused…silliness ensued.

Strangely all of the drama brought to mind…literary agents. I know, it sounds off, but hang with me. They are out there, doing their jobs to the best of their ability, letting authors know where things stand. Then, when an author gets a “No Visitors” note, tempers flare, feelings get hurt, and people get mean. Surely, “the gatekeepers are preventing them from realizing their greatness!” I’m guessing that nothing would make an agent happier than to have every query desirable, in a genre they loved to represent and knew to be sellable. Instead, they get hate mail, angry calls, and even morons who beat them up in the parking lot. (No, I’m not kidding)

So. How about this, authors? Let’s give them more than a break. Why don’t we give them a bit of love, a thanks, or pat on the back for taking the time to read our stumbling queries. Who knows? The good things you put out might actually come back to you.

I know this post is part rant and part encouragement, but it sure made me feel better to write it. Why don’t you share a thought and feel better too?