The skies are still overcast here in the Pacific Northwest, and I’m not entirely sure what the sun looks like anymore, but I’m feeling optimistic anyway. I have plenty of reason to be hopeful this week. The Chuckanut Writers Conference begins on Friday morning and runs through Saturday, and I’ll have the opportunity to pitch my book to 3 different agents. I’ve decided (at least for now) upon the title, “The Parting Glass”, and about 100 pages are complete. Because I am writing memoir, I only need 50 completed pages to move forward (vs fiction, in which agents will ask for a completed manuscript).

So, the rest of my week will be spent polishing up the first 50 pages and continuing to expand. I never dreamed how difficult it would be to actually write a book. Silly me, I thought I would just be able to sit down and crank out 250 pages and be done. My friend Richard wrote 400 pages of his book in just 2 months – but that’s not typical. I’m a slow worker, and that’s because I want my finished product to be perfect. Several themes I never anticipated have also emerged during the first 100 pages that are worth exploring a little further. Hopefully, at least one of the agents will appreciate what I’m trying to do and pick up my project. I’m only thinking happy thoughts!

Here’s my possible pitch idea (what I’ll tell the agents on Friday). Would any of you read my book based on this? Anything you’d be curious about? :

When a restless young traveler decides to try Irish whiskey in a local bar for the first time, the last thing she expected was to get a ticket…to Dublin. Some would later say the whiskey was just trying to get to its home when she pulled out her smart phone and booked the airline ticket. Not wanting to travel alone, she pursues international online dating to find a travel companion. What seems like a simple search turns into a series of romantic misadventures across the Emerald Isle full of memorable characters such as a considerate doctor, a mysterious cop, and an incendiary bartender. Set against the breath-taking backdrop of a ruin-dotted countryside and lively cities, the Narrator sets out to capture all the important moments with her camera, but it’s her unguarded heart that is captured instead. After a few months back home, she grows restless again from dreaming of distant hills that always look greener and books another ticket to reclaim her heart. Unfortunately, she returns only to discover that the man she loves isn’t exactly who she remembered him to be.

The Parting Glass is a toast to all of the wonderful people of Ireland. But, it’s also about idealizing a moment in time as remembered through the unreliable lens of vacation. It’s about learning which experiences are impermanent and which ones last forever.

14 thoughts on “Optimism

  1. That’s an AWESOME pitch! Of course they were all interested – you nailed it! Be proud of yourself on this; very nice work, buddy.

    1. Thanks, Tele! I drove myself crazy trying to think of a pitch for the past month. In the end, I didn’t pitch it exactly this way, but it was a good way to organize my thoughts and the main themes of the book before talking to an agent.

  2. Sounds great Jo I’m so excited for you and I am sending all my positvity towards you this weekend.

    1. Thanks, Martina…it really is the biggest personal project I’ve ever worked on. Can’t wait to finish it and see the finished product sitting (er, flying off the shelves…) of bookstores. 🙂

    1. And I have you to that for that, Sherry – since you helped me realize it was okay to quit poli sci! It was truly a gift that everything in that class went wrong the first day so that I’d drop it and take the writing class instead.

    1. Thanks, Pam! I feel like if I do well, it’s only because I’ve spent the last 8 months with a group of really talented writers who have given me lots of constructive feedback (and therapy, ha!).

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