A couple of notions at the forefront today: I've begun to work with an editor on the third novel. That fact fits with the second thought, which is that it's astonishing when life suddenly stops moving gradually in one direction and begins jumping backward. Most setbacks are like obstacles you climb over, then proceed. I'm finding myself now as a writer as well as an ordinary person trying to get back to steady progress.
I've bitten the bullet and started to try (again!) to get the third book into some kind of shape that might make some agent willing to take me on. It's a truly fascinating process that I used to think I could have done for me for nothing if I could find a publisher. The publisher I found hasn't the resources (or, I imagine even the desire to bother with this).
I remember what it was like to try to teach high school students -- to make improvements without discouraging the efforts. My editor does this very well indeed. With no experience in such matters, I had to ask if I should be returning rewritten material for further comment, whether I should be countering comments of his with defense of my original handling, et al. His response was one I ought to have been able to anticipate, and proved to me immediately that my money will be well spent. He said all decisions must be mine after weighing his (professional) opinions; he added that part of what I might learn would be to defend my work to myself. "Of course," I can hear you experienced and multi-published writers saying. Well, the thought was new to me, and more than welcome. Back to square one in writing courses: write for yourself. Makes me look forward to every e-mail.
That experience, ongoing as it is, links in with the discovery that what I'm tired of hearing termed "the grieving process" isn't one of even fairly smooth progress. I may not like the term, but it appears to be accurate. After perhaps two days of having a sense of beginning to get out from under the blanket of sadness, I have a day of near despair. It's as if I have to start again from the third or fourth day after the loss, when the shock was fading. It's a bit frightening. I think of the tears that won't be pushed back and the rewrites of my story, and honestly wonder if I have sufficient emotional muscle to prevail. Oh, I'll plough along with the novel, try to keep something coming for this blog, produce the reviews and essays for Senior Women, but I wish the hills didn't obscure the horizon.