Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Goodbye, Half Italian?

I’ve decided to make no more agent queries on Half Italian, for the time being. The queries I made last July, at the beginning of this blog, were not my first. As I said in my 2/15/11 post, I’m at 96 submissions.

The professor I wrote about in my 1/3/11 and 1/6/11 posts didn’t sound over-enthusiastic; perhaps that’s my own feelings of discouragement clouding things. He did say he looked forward to learning more about me and my family, but I don’t know whether that was genuine interest or just being polite. It’s now end of May, the month he said he’d be available to read Half Italian, and I don’t want to bring it up again with him.

Then I remember “PERSEVERE” and “Little by little.” Yes, I did commit to persevering, and little by little means small bits of progress and lots of dead ends. As of now, there’s been no progress; I only have hope for future credits from my recent submissions to Travelers’ Tales. That would be progress.

The writer I mention in my 7/24/10 post wrote an article of her thoughts on giving up, saying she’d stay with it until the end. What’s the end, I wonder.

Is this the end? Is Half Italian’s permanent home to be a shelf in my closet?

Not yet.

- PJ

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Eve: Little Old French Ladies

Today I made a second submission to Travelers' Tales, a tribute to senior citizen women of France, recounting several experiences being lost or otherwise hindered on the road in France, and helped out each time by a little old French lady.

We'll see where this submission goes; in the meantime, I consider my recount of these great memories a precursor to Memorial Day, tomorrow.

- PJ

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

8/8 (remember that?) and moving forward

During my recent recovery from surgery another agent response came in the mail, one of the remaining two I wrote off last February. It was a standard form response that said my work appeared to have merit; encouraging words, but still a rejection.

I read two books and several short stories while I was on medical leave; short stories I was supposed to have read in high school English class, and didn’t. Freshman reading assignments from the 1971-72 school year are finally complete! The short story is my favorite form of writing. I’m glad I saved my textbook for 40 years; I love the questions for discussion that follow the stories. I also read Julia Child’s “My Life in France” which I enjoyed and recommend. I sent Alex Prud’homme a quick email on his wonderful job with that book, and he gave a friendly response.

And now I’ve made another submission, not Half Italian, but an amusing recount of a day in 2006 when a friend and I got lost in France as we learned to use his first-ever GPS. I made the submission online to Travelers’ Tales. I’ll only hear back if they decide to publish, and that could take a year. But to obtain even one writing credit would help, and by this submission, I’m moving forward, little by little.

- PJ

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Hello, end-of-May; time has passed.

My little Umbria was green and lush the morning I left for Puerto Vallarta, back in March. Now it’s my little Tuscany once again, its grasses trimmed and wheat-colored, reflecting shadows of the tall, pointed cypresses.

At the end of March I had surgery on my left hand for Dupuytren’s Contracture, a hereditary thing. Thanks, Dad. Since then, I’ve had energy only for physical therapy and healing. Love is now an icepack, more effective than my prescription pain killers; it calms the stings induced by rehab exercises to break up scar tissue. I didn’t realize the recovery would be so brutal, but this was, in fact, major surgery.

I did attend my Italian family’s annual Easter barbecue. Mario, soon to be 96, whipped around the yard in his wheelchair, passing out avocados from a bag attached to the back of his chair. He told me his computer is “old and sometimes slow.” The time it took me to realize he was referring to his memory made me wonder if his “old computer” is perhaps faster than mine. Yikes.

I’ve returned to work; definitely a mixed blessing. I can once again type, although slower than before, as recovery continues. My physical therapist tells me it’ll be 9-12 months before my hand feels like it “belongs” to my body again.

I’m moving forward, little by little.

- PJ