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Archive for the ‘Remembering Jane’ Category

Hours must have passed before I finally spotted help.  A police car sped by me, going so fast that I was convinced it didn’t see me.  I fell to my knees, reaching out for it, screaming at it to “STOP!” but it kept on going.  I wanted to cry, but the tears just wouldn’t come. 

Reluctantly, I forced myself back to my feet and started walking again, toward what I knew had to be a town.  I took it one step at a time, hoping that with each step, I’d actually wake up to find out this had all been a dream.  I heard a loud siren, and turned around to find that the same police car that had left me in its dust just minutes before, had returned and pulled off onto the shoulder behind me.

I stopped walking and turned around in time to see the window roll down.  “Excuse me Miss?  What you doing out here?” shouted the policeman behind the wheel of the car.

Using my hand to shade my eyes from the blistering light of the sun, I looked around and then shouted back, “I don’t know where here is.”

“Get in the car.  We’ll give you a lift into town.”  The other policeman, the one in the passenger seat, swung his door open wide and climbed out of the car.  He moved slowly, his uniform clearly a little too tight around his midsection.  He took a moment, stretching his arms high in the air, as though he had been cooped up in the car for so long his muscles had gotten stiff.  He reached back and pulled open the back door, motioning for me to get in.

I was scared.  Cops are supposed to help you though, or at least that’s what I remember, I think.  Besides, I was tired of walking, and so wincing with pain, I slowly made my way to the car and climbed in.

The policeman in the drivers’ seat turned around and looked me up and down.  “Where’re your parent’s?” he asked.

“I-I don’t know,” I answered, my voice small and shaky with exhaustion.

“My name’s Bill.  What’s your mom or dad’s name?  We’ll track ‘em down for you” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a notepad and a pen. 

I sat back and closed my eyes, thinking as hard as I could, but nothing, not a single name came to mind.  Now I was really scared.  Cops don’t like to be lied to, they don’t like to be fooled around with, and I was certain they wouldn’t understand that I simply did not remember.  But what else was I supposed to say?  “I don’t know their names sir.”

Looking a little annoyed he turned his body a little more so he was able to see me more clearly.  “What do you mean you don’t know their names?”  He let out a heavy sigh.  “Can you at least tell me how you got that cut in your head?”

I reached up to my forehead, and felt the dry flaky blood.  I pulled my hand away and just stared at it.  I closed my eyes and again, tried to think about what had happened, but still, there was nothing.  “No…  I just woke up on the ground back there,” I pointed down the road behind the car, “and I got up and started walking.”

“We better get you to a doctor.  Have him take a look at your head.”  He turned around and stuck the notepad and pen back in his pocket.  He looked out the window at his partner and shouted, “Hey Dan, let’s go!”

Dan turned back to the car, adjusted his belt and slid back in so smooth, that it made me wonder how long he had been a cop. 

“Dan, radio the state patrol, let ‘em know we found a, ah…  How old are you?”  Bill turned back around to look at me again. 

I shrugged my shoulders, not wanting to think any more about all the things I didn’t know

Bill gave Dan a look, and though I had no idea for sure what it meant, I didn’t think it was good.

“Tell them we found a girl on the highway and we’re taking her to Witherton.”

Dan picked up the radio and called the station.  I sat in the back seat, watching him as he made the call.  I had never seen the inside of a police car, let alone, a police radio.  It was kind of exciting, if I could forget about everything else. 

I heard a voice come back through the radio and jumped.  “We don’t have any kids reported missing.  I’ll let you know if we hear anything.”

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The sun shone bright in the sky overhead, like midday before the gunfight in one of those old westerns.  As I looked around, I could even see tumbleweeds blowing across the open road.  Golden fields stretched as far as the eye could see on either side of that road, and I had no idea where I was. 

 

With my arms crossed over my chest, I looked both ways and not knowing where to go, I began to walk.  I could feel blood trickling down my forehead.  I even felt it stop when the wind blew, pushing it up and into my hair. 

There were no cars anywhere, no signs of life, unless you counted me, and the empty road that was clearly paved by someone.  My feet ached, but somehow, something told me I had to keep on walking. 

 

I looked down the length of my body.  My sundress was torn; my legs were bare and skinned.  I raised my hands to my face and could see cuts across my palms.  My arms ached, and they too were covered in deep wounds, though luckily they had stopped bleeding.

 

I watched as the sun overhead moved across the sky, from being directly overhead, to being almost behind me.  I tried to remember what that meant, but there was nothing.  No memory of anything other than what it was.  Which way was I walking, I had nothing but the hope that it was toward somewhere.

 

I kept moving, my legs, my feet, aching more and more, begging and pleading with me to stop.  I felt like I was in a dream, but you can’t hurt in dreams, can you?  I remember something about pinching yourself to know for sure if you’re dreaming or not.  If you felt pain, you couldn’t possibly be dreaming.  I pinched myself, and it hurt.

 

I looked around again, and still there was no one in sight.  How long had I been walking?  I didn’t know.  The only thing I did know was that I had to go on, to keep moving, but to where?  Where was I?  How did I get out here?  My mind was filling with questions I didn’t have the answer to.  

 

The golden fields stretched for what must be miles on either side of me.  There were no buildings in sight, not a single landmark to tell me how far I had come.  There was not even a sign of a town or even a rest area.I passed another mile-marker sign, at least I assume that’s what it was, but I lost track of how many I had passed along the way.

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After writing Remembering Jane, I wanted to get it published.  After all, isn’t that the point of writing – to get published so others can read your amazing work?  I didn’t know what the best route was, so I contacted Random House.  Within a day or two, they had replied to my inquiries with a simple suggestion.  Check out the Writers Market. 

I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about, so I did the obvious thing.  I googled it.  A long drive downtown and fourty five dollars later, I had myself a shiny new copy of The Writers Market – an awesome book.  I flipped through it, not even sure where to begin.  This single book contained everything I needed in order to get myself published (or so I thought).  I went first to the lists of publishers out there and immediately began jotting down their requirements.

I bought a roll of stamps and some of those giant yellow envelopes and began sending off queries and sample chapters.  I marked my calendar with the dates I expected to have responses by, and sat back anxiously awaiting what I knew for sure would be success. 

A few weeks passed, and I received that first rejection letter.  Okay, that stung a little, but everyone gets rejected at least once.  Even Stephen King wasn’t immune to the “No Thanks” from a publisher or two. 

Then I received another and then another “No.”  All in the form of a standard “Form Rejection Letter.”  Clearly I had done something wrong.  Not all publishers could say “No” to a surefire success. 

I pulled up my book and read through it.  Wow, it was amazing how after only a few months, I had forgotten a lot of what I had written, and what’s worse, it wasn’t written all that well.   Sure, it was still a good story, but there were so many things that could be better.

So now what, I asked myself.  What do you do when you receive countless “No’s” from publishers regarding something you poured your heart into?  You keep on trying.  I’m not sure if that’s the right answer or not – but it was for me. 

I had moved onto another story, trying to keep my nerves from taking over me as I awaited the remaining rejections from publishers that I knew were coming.  I decided now was the time to focus on something different and I could go back and work on “Jane” again in the future.  The time away would gain me some perspective. 

After a year away from “Jane,” I think I’m ready to go back.  As I read through it now, I find it even worse than I had a year ago.  I guess that means my writing is getting better.  It’s true what they say, practice makes perfect, and with each new story I write, I find my skills a little more sharp, a little more intact. 

I saved each of the rejection letters I received in my attempt to publish Remembering Jane.  They serve as a reminder that even though my friends and family may tell me my story belongs on a shelf in the book store, there are many out there – the many who hold all the cards – and they have a very different opinion.  One much more critical and hard to stomach.

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My second book, currently titled Remebering Jane, was written during numerous lunch breaks and in small snatches of time here and there when I found a moment to sit down and write.  Not all the writing was done at a desk, table or even somewhere you’d expect a writer to write.  Much of the story was written while stopped at red lights, or in waiting rooms.

After my first attempt at writing a novel, I decided that this time, I would do it right.  I researched the proper way to create characters, develop plot lines and even draw out a unfailing plot line.  I wrote pages upon pages of notes, filled notebooks with character descriptions, motivations and personality profiles.  I outlined the story from beginning to end.

I wrote Remembering Jane, beginning to end in less than two months.  It was a rough two months and many times I found myself questioning whether or not I had what it took to be a writer.  Was I good enough?  Could I do it?  With two small children at home depending on me, I couldn’t give up.  I pushed through every doubt, every moment that I suspected I had writers block, and I turned out a 60,000 word story.

Proud of myself, I quickly sent copies to my parents, my sister, my friends and eagerly awaited their responses.  I knew they’d be enthusiastic and though I had my doubts, thought for sure they’d like it.  After all, I liked it – didn’t I?

Within a month, they results were in.  I had a hit (with some modifications and a few minor adjustments.  Okay – a lot of edits).  But the point was – they liked the story.  It wasn’t going to be a best seller – not by any stretch of the imagination, but with some work, it could definitely sell. 

I spent a month editing, working out loose, and sagging plot lines and making the characters more real.  Without a second’s hesitation, I started the road to authorship…

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