“It’s on top of the pile.”

Attribution: Niklas Bildhauer

Attribution: Niklas Bildhauer

Somewhere on top of a pile of papers stacked high on a publisher’s desk in Wisconsin sits my little manuscript.

He said it was on top of the pile.

Then again, that was seven weeks ago, so maybe it’s not on top of the pile anymore. Maybe it’s buried beneath seven weeks’ worth of other, equally deserving manuscripts. All of which were once happily perched on top of the pile, awaiting their moment to shine.

Or maybe not. Maybe my manuscript is still in its original, virtual state: a Word document, languishing in the publisher’s overstuffed in-box; one file, hopefully, ecstatically titled, Requested Materials: CHERRY. Sent hurtling through cyberspace with one trembling keystroke. . .

One file. One shot. One of many. Hundreds–no, thousands of Word docs and pdf files sent flying, on a wing and a prayer, to countless literary agents and publishers across the country and around the globe; leaving behind countless writers crossing fingers and toes, barely daring to breathe, to dream. . .

He said it was on top of the pile.

He said it was on top of the pile so that’s what I’m believing. He said it was on top of the pile and he’d get to it as soon as he could. I know he’s trying. I know it. Every day, he lifts a manuscript from that pile or clicks open a file and my little manuscript trembles with anticipation, knowing he’s getting closer. Closer. One day, he’ll get to it. Sit back with a hot cup of joe and start reading the thing and he won’t be able to stop. He’ll keep reading until it’s done, then he’ll slap his thigh and say, “Goddammit, that’s a damn fine novel! That kid can write, dammit. This novel has real possibilities, in fact, I’m moving it right now to my ‘Writers I have to call’ pile, right on the top, what was the writer’s name again? Mary or Kathy or. . . wait, what have we here? Requested Materials? I don’t remember asking for that one, let’s just have ourselves a little look-see. . .”


8 thoughts on ““It’s on top of the pile.”

  1. I just imagine you rapidly vibrating with anticipation.

    “Top of the pile” is a weird phrase to consider in ye current Interweb times. Without virtual reality, anyway. With VR, he could be sitting at a virtual desk with all those emails in a literally virtual pile in front of him (or to his left or whatever).

    (sorry. Reading Neuromancer and played Shadowrun yesterday. Reality optional.)


    • I am literally humming with anticipation! No batteries required, and no need to apologize, Jen Donohue. You may check your reality at the door; just make sure to get your ticket. Never know when you might be needing it again.



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