The Harmonics Of Poverty and Writing or, I Need an Agent or Publisher

On August 1, 2001 I became a statistic.  I was officially homeless. My daughter was thrown in a truck, I was beaten and left there to figure it out.  I owned nothing except a suitcase fiilled with photographs of  my daughter, as many of her clothes as I could pack, two pairs of underwear and a T shirt for myself.  I felt I could survive with just the clothes on my back and actually, I didn’t really care, I was just too traumatized and absorbed in the search for my child as well as the monumental task of staying alive.  I will admit to being exceptionally grateful to be out of the filthy rat infested shack my daughter and I had been forced to live in for five years of our lives.  I would be sleeping in a house with a roof overhead that wasn’t full of holes and that in itself was a marvel.  I didn’t expect my child and I to get out of there alive and my ability to write about all things related to this period in time is miraculous indeed.

I have to fight each and every day to focus and concentrate because the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that clings to me like a hungry alligator is a constant companion and foe that challenges my every attempt to function and write.  So far, I’ve endured.  At the time of these events in my life, I lived in a state of urgency and the present, with no thought of tomorrow being a viable truth.  When the shelter system spit me out with the rest of the women and children who’d used up their sixty days, I had no idea what to do but my survival instincts kicked into high gear pretty damn quick. Living on the street is not something anyone can write with cogency, unless they’ve spent time in that particular gutter, isolated and desperate.

One reason I wanted to write this post, is that in my travels around the internet, I’ve come across two separate items about homelessness.  Each one was written by people who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about and it is insulting to those who do.   One is about exploiting the poor for money under the guise of helping them overcome their plight and it is a scam and utter bullshit.  The other is written as observational poetry by someone who’s work is mediocre at best and ridiculous at the worst.  This particular poem was bending down the ridiculous end like spaghetti until it snaps.   I had an enormous “How dare you!” moment, I admit it and after reading this crap, I sat and cried.  Yep, I did. I sobbed a tissue soaker,  because here I am, with a million stories to tell, stories about real people with the authenticity that comes from suffering  and guess what?  No one wants them.   I won’t delve into my submission history, but it appears,  if I write fluff for print magazines and take a few cutesy photos,  an editor will lap it up like a cat does cream.  However, if I produce something real and valuable,  with my heart bleeding on every word, they won’t even give me a glance.  I’ve been having some serious doubts recently about whether I should continue with what appears to become a fruitless endeavor that is completely related to the corruption and politics that is inherent in the publishing industry.  I want to be proven wrong about this, to be given the opportunity to give someone a memoir that would make us all a lot of money, but no takers.  I clearly don’t know the right person/people, or possess the degree necessary to make me palatable to those who can give my words to the world.

As it stands, I have two books in various stages of development and a third is completed, although I’m tweaking it and polishing it, (thank you Bryan, your input was very important to me and priceless.) It will be ready to submit this week and I’m facing the prospect of  that inevitable editorial boot in the face, with such despair and trepidation it is crushing my soul.   I’ve survived so much and I made a promise to some very broken people, to write this book and sell it.  I’ve written it, but the selling it isn’t up to me and once again, just like those days spent in hell, living on the streets of Bellingham  Washington, I am at someone else’s mercy.  It isn’t a good place to be because in my experience, there isn’t a surplus of mercy among the rich and powerful.  Wish me luck, I’m going to need it over the next little while and if there happens to be, by some quirk of fate, an editor or agent cruising by this blog, I have this to say to you:  I have a best seller in my hands, it’s entitled, The glass Tulips.  please, email me and request partials, full, a proposal, whatever, just ask for it and it’s yours. Of course, I won’t hold my breath because this glass is not only half empty, it’s been drained.

Okay, off to do the usual grind,  be good to yourselves and have a  Happy and safe July 4th to everyone south of the border.


Author: valo

I am a poet, writer and activist with a special interest in human rights for children and women as well as the elimination of poverty worldwide. If you read this today, feed someone locally for me will you? Drop off a non perishable food item at the food bank nearest you and consider yourself hugged. Thank you!

18 thoughts on “The Harmonics Of Poverty and Writing or, I Need an Agent or Publisher”

    1. Thank you Corra, and with any luck, I’ll be able to announce something spectacular on this blog, regarding this book. HUGS

  1. Bryan, you know and I know that I’m persistent and you know and I know that you are a prince among men. HUGS 🙂

  2. Your work certainly is powerful.
    I’d say it goes deeper and grittier than the average person can understand.
    Hell, i struggle with some of it.
    I don’t mean that in a bad way.
    It may be that your particular style falls into a niche.
    So going after main stream publishers wont be successful.
    I’m sure there are still a few small publishing houses out there that actually value proper stories and not an 18 year old football player’s autobiography.
    Keep going, you’ll get there

    1. Kseverny, you are a doll and the way the business is now, it’s like trying to piss in the wind when you submit. I’m not certain anything is certain except that if strawberry is the flavour and you’re writing butterscotch, then it doesn’t matter if it’s the finest butterscotch to ever sit atop a cone. therefore, I’m writing neopolitan just to increase my odds. 😉 Thank you for positive vibes dear Brit.

  3. Stick with it Val. Lots of people have an opinion about homelessness. Many are ill informed, or have a comfortable perspective with little real experience to speak from. I am one of them. Everyone with an opinion and/or a heart is a potential audience. I will buy a copy if given the chance.

    1. You won’t have to buy a copy if this happens for me Brad because everyone who has been batting the words back and for with me for these past two years gets a personal note in a signed copy and an eventual hug if book tours happen. How is that for setting the bar damn high? 🙂 HUGS

  4. *hugs* it is people like you that make me wish I had more connections and or the mney to design a kick ass book for you! Keep trying though. At least memoirs are really popular right now 🙂

    1. Well Jessie, that memoir thing is indeed very effective as Alice Sebold discovered with her courageous ‘Lucky.’ I love you for wanting to make it work and one way or another it will but knowing me it will be the very last thing I try. hugs

  5. Val, I can’t begin to imagine what you experienced. Your story deserves to be told and I wish with every fibre of my being that the right person gets your manuscript.

    1. Cindy, hugs and thank you for being a shoulder and caring, not just about my struggle to keep hope alive, but also about a story you have yet to read. hugs 🙂

  6. This is what I started hearing half way through this:

    “Pushing on Straight Ahead
    Straight Ahead, baby”

    Straight Ahead , Jimi Hendrix

  7. Don’t give up hope Val. If I was a publisher or agent I would take you on – I just know it would be a great read. You are a fantastic writer with a unique voice (a Val voice). I don’t know much about the publishing game (except it’s getting harder and you pretty much need an agent these days) but I know that rejection doesn’t always reflect the quality of the writing and there’s a whole basket full of other variables impacting their decisions.

    1. Thank you so much Gabrielle, your support matters to me. I feel sometimes, I suppose, like a lot of people that the mountain is too big to scale but I’m a persevering chick, so if there is a way up I’ll find it. I’m a venter, I share my highs and lows on here because I have come by some wisdom the hard way: A load shared is a load made lighter. Thank you for making my load a bit lighter. hugs

  8. Val, you are a survivor, a fighter and a beautiful person. Your raw works probably frighten editors, because the truth is powerful. Keep going. You will find the right person to publish your memoir. You just have to keep believeing that it will happen.

    1. Thank you brownpaperbaggirl, I love you for your support. This week I’ll be sending queries out again to agents, although I know the result will be the same. HUGS

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