posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy
While certain other Banditas were busy cavorting around Europe (AHEM!), Aunty came home from RWA National and had to sequester herself deep in the writing caves of the Lair in order to meet a deadline. Well, I no sooner extricated myself from the deep dark recesses than I was called to Jury Duty!
HRUMPH! I scarcely had time for a brief neck massage from Sven before I had to do my civic duty and show up at the county courthouse at the horrifyingly unholy hour of 8 a.m. Now everyone who has spent more than five minutes here in the Lair knows that there are very few things that will entice Aunty to pry her eyes open at such an early hour. Cruises, flights to exotic locations in far away time zones, and scantily clad hunks all fit into this category. Doing ones civic duty by participating in jury selection does NOT! It is not that Aunty is opposed in any way to our fine judicial system with a right to a speedy and fair trial, but PLEASE, start at a bit more civilized hour.
After arriving promptly at the county courthouse, it quickly became clear to me why very few courtroom dramas, be they books or movies, mention the jury selection process. For the most part, the whole thing is BOOORRRRING! A classic case study in "Hurry Up and Wait."
First there's the long wait in the shuffling check-in line along with the other 299 people who were told to report at the exact same time. UGH! Then it's time to wait for names to be called for the first panel. The clock drags ever so slowly while a movie is started on the overhead TV (a comedy with Robin Williams which I've already seen and did not find amusing). Eventually, three panels are called and I'm not on any of them.
Just when I started to think I'd get a lunch break without being called, a third round of names is announced and I'm in it. I walked to the elevators along with the 59 others, then waited to be let into the designated courtroom. After about fifteen endless minutes, we were allowed inside where once again, there are not enough seats, so 20 names were called to sit in what the judge refered to as "the bleachers" (the jury box and a row of seats in front of it). I wasn't one of the chosen 20.
The judge started to lecture all of us on "presumed innocence" and "burden of proof" before he decided it was time for lunch and turned us all out for an hour and a half. Blessed relief! All 60 of us arrived back promptly. The judge and his assistants and the two attorneys did not. After another interminable 20 minutes, we are called back into the courtroom and the endless questioning of individual jurors began. Everyone in the jury box got asked the same questions over and over, and everyone gave basically the same answers over and over.
Those of us not in "the bleachers" began to nod off. The judge noticed and gave us a ten minute break. When we returned, roughly half the people in "the bleachers" were let go and eleven more names called to replace them. Lucky me, I wound up in the second group. Now I had to actually appear semi-conscious. But I lucked out again, and the judge decided to send us home early and told everyone remaining (in both the audience and the bleachers) to be back at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
I did appreciate the extra hour of sleep, but was still not happy when I returned the next morning. Most of my fellow potential jurors seemed to share my opinion, especially after twenty, then thirty, then forty minutes passed while we all sat in the hallway. Finally at 9:45, the judge's assistant opened the door of the courtroom and told us we were all dismissed. Turns out the defendant 'cut a deal' with the district attorney while we all cooled our heels! ARGH!!!
All right, now that I've finished my whiny tale of woe, I'll admit that I couldn't escape the parallels of jury selection and writing.
First, you work and slave weeks and months over your baby/masterpiece until you have it in a resonably readable shape. Time to start the submission process! First you craft (with the help of your CPs and other writer-buddies) a flawlessly clever query letter, which you dutifully send off to meticulously researched agents and/or editors.
Then comes the hurry up and wait part!
With any luck at all, you will hear back from your query somewhere between six hours and six weeks. Again, with some small modicum of luck, you will receive at least one positive response, and you will then send off your partial manuscript and synopsis. This time, your wait will most likely range from six weeks to six months, maybe longer.
Now you will need a very large measure of luck and the correct star-allignment in order to receive the much coveted "request for a full." After screaming and telling all your online and in-person friends and unsuspecting family members, you hurry up and send your entire manuscript.
Weeks and months crawl by as you try not to think about your full manuscript that is under consideration... Who am I KIDDING?!?! I open my email every darn day holding my breath, and I know YOU do too! When the phone rings unexpectedly, I leap on it like that proverbial duck on a June bug.
Waiting and hoping for that magical SOMEDAY when "The Call" happens! And eventually, oh yes, that wonderful, mystical day really does arrive! But are your "hurry up and wait" days over? Aunty is sad to inform you that they most certainly are NOT.
You will still need to hurry up and wait for your revisions to be done and approved, for your copyedits to arrive, for your cover to be created. And most of all, you have to wait and Wait and WAIT for your finished book to actually be released.
This takes months, sometimes YEARS! And when you write and sell another book, you get to do it ALL OVER AGAIN!
But unlike Jury Duty, it is absolutely WORTH THE WAIT!!! Aunty guarantees it!
When was the last time you had to hurry up and wait? Are there some things (like a massage from Sven) that you don't mind waiting for? And have you ever been called to Jury Duty? Did you hate it as much as Aunty?