I was in the midst of writing my first novel, while working a regular 9 to 5 job, and I was excited. I was sure that the story was great and that everyone would love it. (Personally, I feel that way about most everything I write.;-)
Although, the book was only about half done, I started sending out letters to agents (I had heard you needed an agent to get a publisher to look at your manuscript, so I figured “why not get a head start on that”. One of the agents I wrote to actually wrote back and said they liked the story synopsis I had included, so we arranged a meeting.
The day of the meeting, I took a train into the city. It was later in the morning, so the train wasn’t overly crowded—not like rush hour. The gal sitting across the aisle from me struck up a conversation. She was excited because her first novel had just been purchased and she was going to meet with her agent. The serendipity of it hit me right away, but I didn’t comment on it. Instead, I asked her what her novel was about.
As she described her story, my eyes grew wider, and she mistook my surprise as awe.
“…I know, it’s a great story isn’t it?” she finished.
I nodded; how could I not? It was a great story; it was my story. It was the story I had been working on for nearly a year. It was the story I was supposed to discuss with the agent in the city.
Now it was more than just serendipity, it was downright bizarre.
We were just starting to pull into the station downtown, and I realized that I didn’t know her name. Still smiling, she answered me when I asked and even spelled the middle name since it was just slightly different than normal. We shook hands, and off she went, excited, bubbly, and completely unaware of how she had just completely changed my day (and my life).
I sat back down in my seat, and tried to put it together. My name, my story, same city, … what were the odds? I never went to my meeting. I took the train back home where I bundled up the diskettes with the story on it and put them in a file cabinet.
Oh, I didn’t stop writing – in fact, I’ve written two other novels and several non-fiction books. However, I decided that that particular story, well, that was HER story. So, I put it away and haven’t looked at my version since. (I have read her version of it, though.)
For some reason, I had crossed paths with one of my other selves – the one who chose to be a published novelist. I’m not sure why we crossed paths, maybe it was because I hadn’t let go of the path she was already on; maybe I had to understand that one version of me was already pursuing the path of novelist and that my path went in a different direction.
I’m still a writer, although not a novelist who makes a living from her book sales. I’m a writer of technical documentation and how-to’s, a blog, and several self-published books. And although it was hard at first, I’m now okay with my path; after all, one of me writing and publishing novels in this reality is probably all the world can handle. 😉