Sunday, August 24, 2008

Do Authors Dream Of Failure?

Last night I dreamed that I was in a room with tables and lots of people. In my hand I was holding a book I had written that had just been published. It was a Little Golden Book about Lassie. The cover was very blue.

Mitali Perkins was there (I dreamed about her because last night I made a comment at her blog), and she was all friendly and nice and started looking at the book. What did she find but a big, big copy editing error. (I dreamed about copy editing errors because we were talking at one of my listservs earlier in the summer about how they are so much more common than they used to be.) Mitali found a one-sentence paragraph that wasn't capped and didn't have a period. She started flipping through the book and found that it was riddled with errors, which she underlined with a pencil.

I was mortified and torn about what to do because I didn't know who my editor was for this project. (I dreamed about this because I have been working on a book for over a year, a book that I have only submitted one place and have no editor for.) However, there was an elderly man sitting at a table in the room we were in who was the book's publisher. I wondered if I should tell him about the copy editing mess because maybe they'd only printed a few of the books and we could still change the others. But I didn't know if it would be inappropriate for me to approach him with my Little Golden Book because he was a publisher and maybe you shouldn't approach publishers with little things like that. I started looking at the copyright information to see if an editor's name was mentioned in there but found none. (I dreamed about that because I'm not at all confident I'll find an editor for my new book. And, of course, a publisher.)

Remember, I said I had written a Little Golden Book about Lassie. Mitali starts talking about how the publishing rights for Lassie were about to pass from its original publisher to someone else. If we were to get the rights to the Lassie story, we could publish a whole series of Lassie stories written by different children's authors. It could become this really cool thing for people to write Lassie stories. (I dreamed this because I read that Mitali has an economics background, which, in my mind, makes her very business-like, unlike myself, who can't figure out publishing house etiquette.)

I said, "M.T. Anderson could write a Lassie story! He is totally into nostalgia and would love to write a Lassie story." (Like I know what M.T. Anderson would love to do.) "He would write a great Lassie story." (I know he would do that.)

After the flurry of excitement over the prospect of the Lassie story series, I looked down at my own Lassie story, my Little Golden Book, which I was holding in my hand. It would never be part of a cool series of Lassie stories because it was so poorly done. It was doomed. There was no hope for it. I knew it.

I woke up feeling very anxious. Or maybe depressed. I'm not sure.

M.T. Anderson is welcome to my Lassie story idea, such as it is. I would love to read an M.T. Anderson Lassie story.

8 comments:

Mitali Perkins said...

Gail. Sweetie. That wasn't a dream. It really happened. Feel free to call my therapist.

Mitali
Author of LASSIE'S RICKSHAW (forthcoming)

gail said...

Oh, my gosh! How bizarre is that! I absolutely did not know!

I keep making jokes with my family members about how I'm psychically plugged in to some kind of network. Now it's happening with my Internet network.

I could probably keep a therapist pretty busy for quite a while.

Mitali Perkins said...

I can't believe I was so snit-picky in your dream. Yuk.

gail said...

No, in the dream I didn't feel that way at all.

LASSIE'S RICKSHAW...hmmm.

Karen Day said...

The good news about having Mitali in your dream, Gail, is that she's so nice and kind that nothing could go wrong. Imagine having a real snot find your copyediting errors!

gail said...

Yes, she was very nice about it.

J. L. Bell said...

That was definitely not the real Mitali in your dream. She critiques the big things, with nothing but encouragement.

gail said...

Yes, but clearly I wasn't worried about big things. I was worried about something else, and Mitali had the misfortune of having me make a comment at her blog before I went to bed that night so she was on my mind.

It could just as easily have been you, John!