Guess what, friends? All my of #PitchWars materials are submitted. This means: I have a final edit (for now) of my manuscript. I have a pitch and an excerpt to share for the literary agent showcase. My emotions over the last couple weeks have rotated between yikes-ville and very proud, but either way, I DID IT!
And now…I just wait.
The showcase is next week, and it will involve me waiting to hear from my mentors about whether any agents requested to see more of my stuff, and then waiting until I can actually send them my stuff, and then waiting some more after I send them my stuff. Waiting is fun!!
There are things I can do while I wait, like working on my query and synopsis and researching agents, which is all important & boring, but I also want to give myself space to honor Dahlia & London before I move on to the next thing. I mean, hopefully, if an agent likes my book, I won’t actually be moving on from Dahlia & London for a long time. But brainspace-wise, it’s important I move on to another project. So that I don’t actually end up hating Dahlia & London, & so I can remind myself that I have the ability to keep writing new things.
Honoring Dahlia & London, for me, takes the form of listening to all the music I listened to while writing this book. And weeping, just a little bit.
Now that I’ve written a few manuscripts, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the things I apparently am destined to write about over and over. And so, as someone who feels like they have taken the long way around their entire life, you should know from the start that anything I write is likely going to be about this song! And these lines in particular:
I fought with a stranger and I met myself
I opened my mouth and I heard myself
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself
Guess I coulda made it easier on myself but I
I could never follow
Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else
Maybe someday, someday I’m gonna settle down
If you ever want to find me I can still be found
Taking the long way around
When I first started writing this book, Wildflowers was always Dahlia’s song, but now it makes me think of both of them. I think they would sing it to each other.
This is London’s song for the haters when they’re feeling good. When they’re feeling pissed off, it’s Fuck You by Lily Allen.
Any time I listen to this song now, I think, well, London will be your Emmylou, June, AND your Graham and Johnny too, so there.
I give some unnecessary call-out to music I like in every book I write. In my first, it was 90s grunge (and K-Pop); in my second, it was Lizzo and Madonna; in this one, it’s all the shit I listened to in college. So, I like this song and so does London. The end.
You know what else I do in almost every book I write? Reference Stevie Nicks or Fleetwood Mac somehow, someway, just randomly. Like, actually unnecessarily. This was not conscious, but when I realized one day that I had done it for no good reason in at least two of my manuscripts I laughed and laughed.
Anyway, Dahlia tells London this is likely the most perfect song ever written, right before they have sex for the first time. As one does.
(lolololol facts tho)
Because Dahlia and London do both of these things. As we all should.
I know this song is tongue-in-cheek/angry/ironic, but, this really is what I whisper to Dahlia all the time. Dahlia and London ARE young and legitimately have their whole lives ahead of them, but what Dahlia needs to know in this book is this: you can get divorced, you can change your mind about what you want in life, and it’s okay, baby girl. It’s good.
This actually isn’t on either my Dahlia Woodson or London Parker playlists, but I heard it a hundred times on the radio throughout the writing of this book, and each time the prettiness of the lyrics just punch me right in the gut.
I remember you closing the shutters
And laying down by my side
And the light that was still slipping through
It was painting your body in stripes
I remember the trees summoned down
Like an archangel choir
And the ocean was all we could see
And I knew that I wanted you
This song plays in Dahlia’s subconscious for a lot of this book, I think. She knows she’s going to lose London, that there’s an end date on their relationship, and it’s awful and terrifying and so she and London just never talk about it.
This song was a backbone of me beginning this book. Dahlia and London leave Maryland and Tennessee to fly to LA to be on the show, and they don’t know they’re going to find each other, but they know they’re going to experience something new and strange.
They say California is a recipe for a black hole
And I say I’ve got my best shoes on
I’m ready to go
Watching Dahlia and London find their successes has been such a privilege. They’re ready to go now.