The winds have shifted, and the sails are full. But I’m not the captain of this ship.

8 04 2004

I spent April 2-6 at Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. Part of me wants to share with all of you what happened there, but part of me is hesitant.

Sometimes when other people receive particularly delightful blessings, I want so badly to rejoice with them — to share their happiness without a trace of jealousy or envy. I often fail. Am I the only one who suffers from this disgusting selfishness? I suspect it’s a consistent trait of human nature, unless you’re a Mother Theresa clone. I like to think people will be happy for me when my dreams come true, but then I recall my own competitive tendencies, and I wonder.

I’m going to tell you about some amazing opportunities that came my way. If you hate me forever, I guess I’ll have to live with it. If you come alongside and share my joy, I’ll be even more glad for your company knowing it may have cost you to do so.

The first day of the conference I sat down with a successful, respected literary agent. She represents clients in both ABA and CBA, and publishers open their arms to submissions she endorses. I met this agent last year at the same conference, and she read my book proposal then, loved the story, but wasn’t sure a book based on the personal experience of a non-celebrity would sell well. We hit it off on a personal level, though, and swapped a few e-mails.

When we spoke this time around, she remembered my book and suddenly became quite excited. During the past year, she has strengthened her contacts in Hollywood and has sold several of her clients’ manuscripts as films.

“You’re book would be wonderful for a made-for-TV movie,” she said.

We talked for about an hour, then parted ways, my having promised to send the whole manuscript, and her having committed to pitch it to her film friends. The agreement was informal, though. She hadn’t offered to be my permanent agent.

During the course of the conference I enjoyed multiple opportunities to sit down with top editors from a number of publishing houses, including Multnomah, Focus on the Family, and Howard Publishing. Their responses were enthusiastic across the board. But the most interesting thing to me was the theme that kept recurring, like a chorus to a song, over and over.

“This book should be a movie.”

On the second to last day, I ran into the agent again. I hadn’t seen her since our initial conversation. (There were more than 400 conferees, about a dozen editors, and only four agents present!) We walked together toward the building where she was about to present a workshop. She stopped after we turned off the main thoroughfare onto a side path.

“I want to talk where we won’t be interrupted,” she said. “I’m very excited about your book, and I want to offer you representation.”

So, there you have it.

I have an agent. An agent who will not only represent what I write, but one to whom publishers will turn when they want a writer for a particular project. An enthusiastic agent who believes in my writing and in my book, and who wants to pitch it in Hollywood when she travels to LA in June. A fun agent who likes me and whom I like. An agent who will also be a good friend.

I’m amazed.

Of course, no particular results are guaranteed. The film people haven’t seen the manuscript. No deals have been made.

But I’m deeply thankful for this delightful gift of opportunity. And I pray I’ll handle it wisely.

I’m also deeply thankful for what happened at the Saturday night general session. I sang Jacob’s Song. I didn’t try to make it fancy. I just played the sweet, soothing melody on the piano, letting it waft through the auditorium like a gentle breeze, carrying the profoundly simple words to open hearts. And God, in His amazing mercy, reached into the room with His beautiful, healing hand. Words can’t capture the wonder of what happens when God decides to show up. It’s not something we can plan, and it’s certainly not something we can ever deserve. That’s really all I can say about that. It’s awkward to say, “God used me.” But to not say anything at all is to refuse to acknowledge His kindness. I wish I knew the right way to do this.

Those of you who pray: please pray for me. None of this is about me at all, and I don’t want my pride to get in the way.

Thanks for reading my happy news. May the resurrected Christ fill you with Easter joy. He is risen.

Love, EZ


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10 responses

8 04 2004
jetpacknomad

Well, “congratulations” seems a wee bit trite, so let me say that I’m really happy for you in this great opportunity.

9 04 2004
jeannedamoff

Thanks! Prayers are appreciated. I would take an inspiration haiku, too. :o)

EZ

9 04 2004
cocinelle

wow!

Sounds wonderful! What a chance occurence, fortunate circumstance, and all that claptrap (we really know the truth, don’t we? :))
I think this is the part where you inch slowly up to the top of the first rollercoaster drop and either scream and clench the railing or throw your arms about and scream giddily. Scream, girlfriend, scream!

We love you.

9 04 2004
cmortmain

This is wonderful news!

And I suspect it will all happen, too. You’ve got an amazing story to tell, and you’re a wonderful writer.

I know an editor from your Louisiana publisher whose story became a television movie. Do you know the person I’m talking about?

9 04 2004
wordgeek

I hate you forever!

Just kidding. That’s really great news. I have to admit, though, I worry about what Hollywood would do to your story, and to your family. I have a sneaking suspicion that the P.C. script writers would try to delete the main character, if you know what I mean.

I have regrets about not going to the conference, again. But I don’t know what the point would have been. I really have nothing to present to any agents right now. Maybe by next spring, or after I graduate I’ll have some agent-worthy material.

9 04 2004
jeannedamoff

Re: wow!

I’ve always loved roller coasters. :o)

Thanks for the love and enthusiasm. Pray!

I love you, too.
♥ EZ

9 04 2004
jeannedamoff

Re: This is wonderful news!

Thank you! Your compliments always mean a lot to me.

I don’t know which editor you’re referring to. I had several great conversations with the Sr. Editor who attended the conference. He’s hilarious. Reminds me of my brother-in-law. Now I’m curious. Tell me more!

EZ

9 04 2004
jeannedamoff

I know what you mean about Hollywood. The cool thing is my agent (saying those two words will take a while to get used to!) is a strong Christian, and the folks she deals with in the film industry are Christians, too. It’s nice to know there are lights scattered about in that murky world.

I also think Mel Gibson shook things up a bit. Bold messages aren’t dismissed as readily as in the past.

I’d love to see you go to a conference of this caliber. Even if you don’t have a specific manuscript to pitch, it’s an awesome way to meet writers and others in the industry. I’ve developed some amazing friendships with people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

We should talk.

♥ EZ

10 04 2004
allenb

Way to go, EZ!

10 04 2004
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Allen!

♥, EZ

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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