I had to do it. I had to send out paper submissions. As a paper lover myself I understand the desires of agents and editors who prefer paper submissions. After all, you can take a piece of paper anywhere, read it anytime. Yet, as a writer, I do prefer to submit electronically. It’s so much simpler. The fussing over printing pristine sheets, labeling the envelope, making sure everything is in the envelope correctly, and with kids around, making sure that no one dirties my masterpiece, is enough to stress a person out. Then there’s getting the manuscript to the post office, that’s where the real adventure begins…
I have a big army green backpack that I have to put all the supplies I need for town in. My boots, water, chapstick, money, snacks. Thankfully there’s a separate pocket I can use for mail or else things wouldn’t be pretty.
After I bundle up, sling on my backpack, and put on my skis, I slide out into the snowy tundra. My story is outside in the fresh air gliding along. Destination: post office. The woodpecker pecking the tree trunk doesn’t even notice as we glide by, my story and me. He just keeps on peck, peck, pecking. I wonder if woodpeckers get headaches.
I get to the steep hill, ever tempted to ski it. I know better. I’ve broken bones before trying to downhill on cross country skis. I don’t want to injure my manuscript. Reluctantly I take off my skis and walk the steep slopes. Dreaming of shooshing, remembering crashing.
I ski and walk, ski and walk, until I reach my car. I make a grand entrance scraping to a crash on the ice. I hope that my manuscript isn’t injured. I don’t check. There’s nothing I can do about it now.
I drive down the icy hill like a child driving a car on a track at an amusement park, jostled back and forth every time I hit the edge of the deep rut. Then I slurp out onto the muddy road. Sloshing, sliding, back and forth, careful not to got too fast and slide off the road, all the way to town.
At the post office, I open my pack. The package has a long line down the front, a sort of indentation. I sigh. These things and worse could easily happen on it’s journey through the mail system I tell myself.
And so I send it, and I wonder what sorts of journeys other manuscripts make on their way to try to find someone who loves them.