An Urgency for Hope

Querying agents is like walking a tight rope.

You steady yourself and get ready for an experience that is sure to end well because all dreams come true, right?

It might sound weird, but just knowing that my query letter is floating out there, somewhere in the ether of the Great Interwebs – but hopefully in the hands of my future agent – keeps me going day-to-day.

On any given day, at any given moment, I’m thinking about the last agent I queried. Take, for instance, today. As of right now, it’s been nine days since I queried this one particular agent whom I really feel might gel with me and my work. It’s been nine days and I haven’t heard anything. I know that it takes time; after all, answering query letters of unpublished writers is NOT a literary agent’s main focus. I’m aware of that. But constantly logging into my email and refreshing my inbox makes me feel [in some perverse sort of way] that I have some sort of purpose. The hope of it all keeps me going.

It’s hard. It’s so easy to become jaded. It’s even easier to become an insecure mess, a jumbled bundle of a tangled nerves, an angry bitter writer/blogger who loses interest in writing all together.

These days happen more than I would like them to. I stay in bed or stare at my computer screen and experience nothing, nothing, nothing.

I wait for something to happen. And as I wait, hope wanes.

I have to keep telling myself:

And in the end, I will be the victor. Right? At least, that’s what Steve tells me; he assures me that everything will happen because how could it not? I deserve it. I am talented. I am driven. He holds my hope for me sometimes, until I build up enough strength to believe that dreams come true, and I will publish my book.

I have to hold onto my dreams; I have to keep hope alive because hope keeps me alive. Hoping to hear from agents, whether it’s good or bad, keeps me going. If I didn’t have that to look forward to, I don’t know that I would be able to function.

I think staying hopeful is one of my greatest qualities. Yes, I can be jaded just as well as anybody else. But how can I let go of something that is such an intrinsic part of me. As an self-proclaimed “artist,” I naturally surround myself with people who share similar mindsets/goals/artistic abilities. I have friends and family members trying to make it in the music business, friends who are writers trying desperately to get published as I am, and others who dance and create and don’t limit themselves to one possible outcome. Some might say that it’s silly to hold on to dreams, that dreams only come true in Disney fairy tales.

But it’s harder than that.

It’s difficult to hold onto hope.

Children have it easy; they can be firemen, astronauts, magicians, kings, presidents, celebrities, cartoon characters. They can live and breathe their dreams because life hasn’t come in and snatched every ounce of hope from their souls. They can believe, with every fiber of their being, that they can truly do everything and anything because when you’re young, everything seems possible.

When I grew up, I learned that this isn’t the case.

But somewhere, deep down, I have kept ahold of the child in me that still believes in dragons and other realms and that, if I can concentrate hard enough, I can unearth magical powers that were buried. I watch Disney movies for the same reason that you might eat comfort food. I look to the stars for answers.

I hold onto the hope that an agent will see my work and take a chance on me, and we’d be the perfect fit.

I have to hold onto hope.

I need to believe.

It will be everything I’ve ever wanted.

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Source: “The Lights” by Alice X. Zhang on DeviantArt

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