Entertaining the Hopeful in Paris

Hope image

As many of you know (and are perhaps sick of hearing), I’m currently in the process of submitting the manuscript of my first novel to publishers.

With the time difference, I wake each morning and rush to check my emails (my inbox and my spam folder, because you never know), then I spend the rest of the morning trying not to be too disappointed.

I’m waiting for one of two things. Either, for a positive response from a publisher or, for enough time to pass that I can be sure they don’t want my book and move on to the next.

It’s emotionally exhausting, and on a good day I can be ambivalent about it, and on a bad day the lack of response can leave me tear-streaked and shivering in the foetal position in the corner.

But this week, I discovered a third option.

It was Friday, around 6pm, and I was strolling home from my last class in the 5th. It was cold, but not glove-worthy, and I was late, having lingered in the Gibert Joseph bookstore along the way. Bookstores for me are at once a source of immense joy and incomparable anxiety. Surrounded by row after row of bonafide books I feel as if I am the only person in the world who isn’t published. Other times, I spend embarrassingly long amounts of time imagining where my book would sit on the shelves.

This particular evening, I’d succumbed to my cookbook addiction and bought not one but four new tomes, which now swung heavily at my side. I was walking briskly, head down, crossing the Pont au Change towards the haven of my Right Bank studio, thinking, as ever, about my book. As I arrived at the end of the bridge, the Eiffel Tower appeared out of nowhere, bringing its hourly light dance with it.

And I realised that while I wait for a reply that may never come, I can also entertain the hopeful.

I’m not sure if this happens to the rest of you, but I’ve noticed a pattern in my own life. Whenever a truly positive thought enters my head (e.g. ‘Today is a good hair day’ ‘Nice ankles!’ ‘Your writing is worthwhile’) I swiftly squash it with a heavier, much more powerful, negative equivalent. Being Australian goes a long way to explain this tendency; we are a nation who is culturally opposed to tall-poppyism, even when it exists only inside our own heads.

But this week I made a conscious decision to entertain the hopeful, when it comes. To allow the positive to sit, untarnished, unsquashed, unrebutted.

It might not bring me any closer to getting my book published, but it will make the wait all the more enjoyable.

Hope image courtesy of jarnott on Flickr.


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