Wormwiches for Lunch

I think it went straight into the garbage the moment after I held it in my hands. Well, maybe not quite that soon since my father used to brag that his 15-year-old daughter had gotten a hand-written "Good Job, though!" on a printed form letter to a literary agency. I probably threw it away after he read it.

I know. If I could go back in time and bitch-slap myself for not holding on to my first rejection letter and even framing it to preserve the gloriousness of those three hand-written words, I totally would. Instead, I can just focus on the miracle that I still have the actual book and if I'm ever going to re-read and revise to try for a new round of submissions a little over 15 years later.

The book, Wormiwiches for Lunch, was written as an English assignment. We came up with our own stories and did our own illustrations before being sent out into the big wide world of market research (conveniently disguised as story time at the elementary schools). Maybe the other kids in class were just thrilled to get out of third and fourth hour. Maybe a few also dreamed of one day becoming a published author of a B.O.O.K. All I know is I flew higher each time the kids laughed in the right places listening to the story of a boy who outsmarts a lunch stealing school bully by switching out his  peanut butter and gummi worm sandwich for one with real worms and practically soared out of the room with chipmunk-voiced requests to come back and read it again. It's all kind of fuzzy now, but I'm pretty sure it was my English teacher's encouragement that got me to the school library for a book where I pulled a single agent's name and sent out a single letter, which I have since learned is called a query.

Go figure.

I know I stated my name in the first paragraph and I am quite certain I also stated how much the kids I read it to loved my book, my age, and my grade at (insert High School here). There's a damned good chance I broke every query rule in the book, mainly because I didn't know I was writing a query or which book to refer to for said rules. And then I waited.

And waited.

Until one day, I was called to the main office where a letter was waiting for me. I remember shaking as I walked back to my classroom and nervously opened it with my teacher.

"Good job, though!"  I saw that first. And I saw it last. "Though" meant "nice try but not quite." It didn't mean I had an agent. Or a chance at getting the book published. So I threw the letter away and forgot about it until we went through some unopened boxes from our cross-country move and found a few of my old treasures.

I wish I'd kept my original letter. Oh well. That just means that when I get to re-reading, revising, and editing Wormwiches for Lunch again, I just get to write a brand new first draft.