Last weekend at the Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt I realized that children at an egg hunt are very much like writers searching for publishers. We all want to fill our baskets.
Picture a football field covered with color-coded plastic Easter eggs. (within view of the stage I might add, where authors Lynn Hazen and Phil Silver (photo below R) and I were scheduled for Storytime. Not the easiest gig, but fun just the same.) OK back to the field. Each color of egg had age appropriate goodies inside. A perfect match for all, right?
The littlest kids went first and they were instructed to pick up the yellow eggs ONLY. But many were so eager to fill their baskets, they grabbed whatever eggs (ie publishers)they could find while patient Moms and Dads (ie agents) dropped the blue and orange eggs back onto the ground for the next round of egg hunters. "Why can't I have that one?" one confused toddler (ie writer–You getting this metaphor?) asked. "Because the yellow ones are for you," mom/agent said.
Picture the next two age groups chomping at the bit. Their eyes on that special egg /editor of their dreams. "I want that blue one!" one 6 year old boy announced with such Hands-off-It's-mine detrmination a few fellow egg hunters backed away. But alas, the blue ones were earmarked for the oldest kids. "When our turn comes, we're heading for those cool orange ones over there!" his Dad/agent said, knowing the best deal for his client–err son. Note: a meltdown over the right egg is not an easy parenting gig. We all want the kid to succeed. And sadly, blue-egg boy's tunnel vision (and yeah, the meltdown) kept him from seeing that. "Trust me, dude, the orange ones are the best," Dad tried again. (somebody give this agent–err Dad–a medal!) And, when it was their turn, the blue-egg guy followed Dad's lead. Happy Easter, right?
Picture the very sad child arriving late to find an empty football field. No eggs at all. The writer–oops–child had taken so long getting her basket ready, they'd missed the whole thing. Well, except for the petting zoo, and our author tables–which have nothing whatsoever to do with this over-extended metaphor.
The moral of the story? You decide–I was over signing books when the kids plopped on the grass to open their eggs.
The message? A sincere thank you to my wonderful agent, Deborah Warren of East/West Literary who always makes sure I get the right eggs in my basket. : ) And hugs to those weary Egg Hunt parents. You rock. The kid won't remember the melt-down–only the chocolate kisses inside his egg.
PS Thanks also to my high school helpers (Jordan and her pals) for manning the booth during my storytime!