Every writer I know imagines “The Call.” I had plenty of time to imagine the call; I anticipated that I would be doing any of the following when it happened:
- Working: my cell would ring, it would be my agent! I would give a squeal that would alert my co-workers that something had happened. They would rush to my office where I would share the news. Celebration and jubilation would occur.
- Out in a Public Place: This could be the grocery, shopping mall or on public transit. The cell would ring- it would be my agent! Again with the squeal- along with announcing in a loud tone “I’ve sold my book!” Celebration and jubilation would occur with total strangers who would, of course, all write down my name so that they could buy the book at a later date.
- Hanging out with my husband: cell phone rings- it is my agent! Squeal (again) Celebration and jubilation (again- only this time including kissing) Champagne optional- but preferred.
Each morning I would get up and one of my first thoughts would be “today could be the day.” I played the song Fame over and over in my car. I was ready-but the phone didn’t ring. I was never separated by more than three feet from my phone at any given time. When it would ring I would leap as if a nuclear device would go off if I didn’t answer it before the next ring. I was the Jack Bauer of cell phone response. No calls from the agent. There were plenty of emails where my devoted agent would talk me down off the ledge, but no call.
One cold January day my car had gone in for repairs so I was working from home. When the cell rang I assumed it was work.
Devoted agent: Eileen? It’s Rachel.
Me: Who? (No one named Rachel works at my office)
Devoted agent: Rachel Vater. Your agent. (although she didn’t say it aloud I am fairly sure this was followed by the thought- “the one you email on a near hourly basis wanting news from- that Rachel” )
Me: hi (still processing that this isn’t a call from work)
DA: We’ve got an offer!
DA: Let me give you the details. (details inserted here) Any questions?
Me: No. I guess not. Thanks. Goodbye.
Then I sat down. Then I stood up. Then I sat down again. I tried to give a squeal. The dogs looked over annoyed- they thought I was doing a squeaky toy impression. Turns out it is no fun to squeal by yourself.
I called my husband- he was in a meeting so I left a vague message.
Then I called back:
“It’s important- call as soon as you can. Life altering important. Call!”
Then I called one more time:
“I mean I’m not dying or anything, it is good news. But call me. Seriously. Call.”
Then I waited for him to call me back. The Call wasn’t the way I imagined it, but I wouldn’t trade the memory.