Those who know me well know that Sasquatch inspired me to become a writer. Or, rather, an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man did. Maybe you remember it: Steve Austin, astronaut, a man barely alive, is kidnapped by Bigfoot, who turns out to be a robot controlled by aliens desperate to save their underground city AND the entire West Coast. High drama.
Or at least it was for me. So taken by the idea of Bigfoot living in my backyard, I wrote my first short story about him kidnapping my best friend and me, only to discover our own alien colony and the Bay City Rollers. We drank milkshakes together.
Suffice to say, for years I have really, truly, identified with Sasquatch. Shy, hiding in the woods, only ever seen when too busy to bother concealing himself (or herself). When noticed, REALLY makes sure to be noticed. Can’t help it, really. After all, he IS nine feet tall.Over time, I continued writing, though less in the fan fiction category.
Some of it good, some horrible, but finally I found a voice and finished a novel. I started a second one. And a third, and sketched out ideas for more. Where, you may ask, are they?
Silly me, I thought I would ask someone to publish that precious first novel. Researched how to draft a query letter, studied the publishing business, followed agents on Twitter. Ran into a stumbling block: I work full time, I’m married, and I’m a mother. My first novel, like Sasquatch, is a little mysterious, and I found it hard to pitch it without saying, “I know it SOUNDS like the novel is about this, but REALLY it’s about that.” It is a full time job figuring out whom to pitch, how to pitch, and when to move on, and in the precious spare time I have, I want to be finishing novel number 2. And then I realized something: this is reminding me of a beauty contest.
In order to find an agent, I have to squeeze myself into a dress that doesn’t suit me, slap makeup on, and spritz my hair with enough Aqua Net to burn another hole in the ozone layer. I have to smile smile smile and profess opinions I have discovered they would prefer. I have to figure out how to make them like me, even if they end up liking a fake me. But, hey, by then I’ll have my foot in the door, yes?
But I’m not a beauty queen. I’m a Sasquatch. I’m happy wandering through the woods and pulling down a few branches to mark my way. Maybe a person will see my trail, maybe another Sasquatch will. Doesn’t really matter, because that’s my mark out there.
I received some wonderful advice from a friend—my husband, as it happens—who said, “Just get it out there.” And he’s right. All I care about is getting my novel, my words, out there. Maybe some people will like it. Maybe some won’t. Guess I’ll have to wait and see. But book number 1 will be out there and I can finish book number 2, and 3, and that trilogy I’ve been thinking about. Hmm, maybe a graphic novel? Sure, why not! I don’t have to please anybody but that little girl who imagined Bigfoot lived behind her house.
My inner Sasquatch roars with approval.