When I think back to my high school days, I literally cringe. Back then my introversion was just taking root, establishing a solid foundation for the future that the Empire State building would be jealous of. And my shyness was in full swing as well. It was the worst when I found myself one on one with a girl, and downright debilitating if I liked her even a little. Needless to say, dating was something I thought about all the time, but sadly never experienced. I lived my life in fear of four things…1) No…2) Hell No…3) An awkward silence…and, 4) Laughter in my face. I was so afraid of those four possibilities, that I never considered the fifth.
You know, it really is a miracle I’m married. But that’s another story for another time.
During those Saturday nights lying on my bed, commiserating with sad songs playing on the radio, I would imagine ways I could change life’s dynamic to make it easier for me. It wasn’t until much later in life that I realized the irony of it all, that while I moped around because of my own choosing…there were girls sitting on their own beds wishing for the phone to ring just once. Anyway, back then it boiled down to one thing; girls were in control of the dating process. Boys had to ask the girls out and all the girls had to do was say yea or nea. If there was a way I could flip that around and have the girls on the other side of the equation, then the world would be cake!
Then I found out about the Sadie Hawkins Dance.
*The Sadie Hawkins dance is named after the Li'l Abner comic strip character Sadie Hawkins, created by cartoonist Al Capp. In the strip, Sadie Hawkins Day fell on a given day in November (Capp never specified an exact date). The unmarried women of Dogpatch got to chase the bachelors and "marry up" with the ones they caught. In the U.S. and Canada, this concept was popularized by establishing dance events to which the woman invited a man of her choosing, instead of demurely waiting for a man to ask her. (*thank you Wikipedia)
So, one time out of every year (from the day the dance was announced to the actual dance itself) the stars would re-align and the dynamic would change. The girls would experience some of the agony that their suitors go through, and ditto the boys. Now stick with me here, let’s take that concept and run with it.
Every time you send out a query letter, you are in essence asking an Agent on a date. I’ve read a few blogs where the querying process is likened to dating. Aspiring writers live in constant fear of this process because the answer frequently comes in the form of a rejection letter bearing one of the four possibilities I outlined above. Agents hold all the control and writers agonize as a result.
What if? What if one day out of the year there was a Sadie Hawkins Day for Agents and Writers. What would that be like? What if Agents had to ask writers to allow them to represent their work? They came knocking at your door? How many Agents would you say NO to…waiting instead for that dream Agent to ask you out? I bet there’d be more than a few Agents who would sit the day out, choosing not to take part because they fear discovering how often they might hear NO.
Yes, it’s silly day dream fodder, but turning things inside-out to see what things look like from a different perspective is what we writers do. Sadie Hawkins did nothing for my dating life in high school, so why should I expect my imaginary spin on things to be any different. But it does makes for an interesting blog post. :)