There’s a passage in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that Large Son gave me reason to remember recently. It’s not a huge important scene, but his reference to it was perfect, and I remembered it immediately. It is in the White Witch’s castle after Aslan has breathed on all the stone statues and brought them back to life*. Here, he is speaking to the assembled group.
“Those who are good with their noses must come up in the front with us lions to smell out where the battle is. Look lively and sort yourselves.”
And with a great deal of bustle and cheering they did. The most pleased of the lot was the other lion, who kept running about everywhere pretending to be very busy but really in order to say to everyone he met, “Did you hear what he said? Us Lions. That means him and me. Us Lions. That’s what I like about Aslan. No side, no stand-off-ishness. Us Lions. That meant him and me.” At least he went on saying this til Alsan loaded him up with three dwarfs, one dryad, two rabbits, and a hedgehog. That steadied him a bit.
This came up recently because Large Son was berating Small Daughter for being condescending to their young cousins. “Please,” Large Son said. “You were trying to tell me how boring it was that they wanted to play with you – you were all Us Lions about it!”
Us Lions. In publishing there’s a lot of that.
Until a few months ago, I was very much on the far side of the publishing fence. I was writing, I was querying, I was commiserating with other would-be authors. That was about it. On Twitter, at conferences, on blogs, there were all kinds of published or soon-to-be published authors joking with each other, professing their love for their amazing agents, talking up their book launches. For those of us querying and getting piles of rejections, those easy Twitter exchanges with agents and editors seemed a bit like a foreign language.
But then in October, a few days after my birthday, I got THE AMAZING CALL from the even more amazing Marietta Zacker, of the Nancy Galt Literary Agency, and I was suddenly in the club. Us lions.
Then in December (after that little jaunt to Nepal) I got THE OTHER AMAZING CALL, that someone was interested in my book. And the amazing calls just kept coming.
Earlier this month I went to New York and had a chance to talk to editors about THE FAMILY FURNIVAL. As I walked through the hallways of these venerable publishing houses I saw signed copies of books I adored, I saw famous illustrators’ doodles on the walls, I saw galleys and ARCs and manuscripts piled everywhere. Us lions were really roaring now.
Next week I should have some very exciting news to share with the world. And there’s a part of me that is that lion who, for a moment at least, felt he was Aslan’s peer. But at the same time, it feels like around ten minutes ago that I was glumly pressing send on a bunch of queries, complaining endlessly to my writer friends, and really wondering if there was any point in waking up early or staying up late to try and pursue this crazy writing thing. So I guess all this is to say, if, once I share that exciting news, I start to get too self-important, feel free to weigh me down with three dwarfs, one dryad, two rabbits and a hedgehog. Let’s see if that steadies me.
*I’d really like to think I don’t have to tell anyone here to read this book. Honestly, if you haven’t read it by now there’s probably no hope for you. But on the off-chance you recently landed here from another planet and just haven’t had a chance to read it, by all means go ahead. I’ll wait. *taps fingers* Done? Excellent. Carry on.