Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Chicken Brains and other thoughts on why I'm not published

Chickens are brutal and stupid. They really are. They're not cute or cuddly like people that don't have them think--they are mean and cruel and... well, you get the idea.

We have 10 chickens we raise for their eggs. Yesterday we put the two new chicks (which are now bigger than the adult chickens) in with the others and Wham! The older chickens killed one. We rescued the other, but the largest--of ALL the chickens, old or young--was stomped, pecked and bludgeoned to death. A horrible way to go. And a waste.

Ironically, we think the chicken that started the frenzy is the one with the most feathers already missing, the one that got pecked on before the "new" chickens (called pullets) joined the ranks.

My point in telling you this sad tale of chicken slaughter is this: There ARE some people who are cruel like these older chickens. (Let's call them "peckers" for fun. Ha, ha). But the peckers are few and far between. For the most part I think people have enough of a moral compass and brains (at least we hope) to understand that tearing one person down does not help them advance in status.

I've noticed this with writers.

Most writers truly wish each other well, as do agents and editors. They want to see success and jealousy is (potentially) kept at a minimum.
There are the few who give the rest of the flock a bad name, but most care deeply about their art and reaching out to readers.
When people ask me why I'm not published, I usually shrug, get embarrassed, and say that it's really, REALLY hard to get published. "Like one in a hundred thousand," I tell them.
But lately I've been thinking about what makes a writer into a published author and when I ran across a recent interview an agent gave, I realized she hit the nail on the head.
An agent or an editor can't just crush on a book. It can't be puppy love, it has to be a strong passion, a true love. It has to be something they'll stand behind--much like a marriage. And I just haven't met an editor/agent yet who feels that strongly about a book or me as an author. And that's okay. There's time. And face it, would any of us want to enter into a marriage or a business relationship that wasn't powered by enough devotion? I wouldn't. So I'll wait. And wait. And probably wait some more.
In the meantime I'll learn from my chickens how NOT to be. I'll be happy for other's successes, I'll grieve with them about the "almosts" and when people ask me why I'm not published, I'll quit being embarrassed and tell them that I just haven't met the right agent/editor who loves my books enough.
And that is enough. For now.
We'll see how it goes after I have this baby. Which is any day now. (Don't worry, I'll be annoucing it from the roof tops and you'll hear about it.)


  1. How very sad for those other chickens... they didn't even take the opportunity to see what they were "missing"! I think a lot of agents are that way, but I am glad you have such a good attitude and I am sure you are right!!

  2. How sad.... poor little chicken! It is amazing to me that chickens can be so cruel. And people too. Truly truly sad.

  3. WOAH! Brutal chickens! Steve and Chris' chickens don't seem to be that angry, but then again I only see them about once a week. Did you hear they got their first little eggs? :) Anyways, I can't WAIT to see the new baby! And have you decided on the definite spelling?

    And of course, good luck with all your writing endeavors! I think it's a good approach to not be one of the angry chickens. And you have so much talent I'm sure the right agent is out there. And when you find each other I'm sure that you'll be happy it took this long so that you didn't have the publishing stress going along with a new baby. The timing will all work out in the end :)