One perk to living in New York City that I’ve just learned about is if a New York agent likes a story you published in a journal and contacts you to see if you’re represented and you say no and then she wants to see more work and you send in more stories and an excerpt of a novel and she likes the stories especially but doesn’t think the novel is the right one and maybe you could turn one of the stories into a novel and she wants to see what else you can do and to maybe see if you can work together in the future, instead of getting that news in a form letter, you can talk about it in person. So I had a meeting at her offices yesterday. I told my boss I had a lunch “appointment” that would run longer than an hour—and it was only on the subway headed to the meeting that I realized this veiled “appointment” language (and the new red sweater I had on) may have made it seem that I had a job interview. I did not.
I was nervous. I don’t know how well I come across in person. But at the same time I knew that nothing concrete would happen and so that was sort of freeing, just going to talk to someone who liked my stories and had advice to give me about what to do next. She had a beautiful office, a beautiful cat, beautiful chairs to sit in, the books on display beautiful, all very impressive, and her enthusiasm and interest in me were strange but exciting. We spoke about the future of literary fiction. We spoke about needing a novel in order to sell a short story collection. I liked her. I wish I could tell you that I came away from that meeting with an agent. I did not.
But it was a good meeting all the same.
Also, while walking outside, I saw a familiar face on the street: Agent Cooper. His hair was longer, and lighter, and he was not wearing a black suit, but I’d know him anywhere. When it started to snow, light fluffy flakes, the day was complete. I don’t know what will happen with this agent (not Agent Cooper; the literary one) in the future, how it will end. But on a day when it starts snowing, and you see Agent Cooper, and you talk to someone who likes your stories, I guess you’re doing okay.