Reflections on healing trauma, writing, and books by Tokyo-based memoirist
 
Hundreds of Editors and Agents Knew

Hundreds of Editors and Agents Knew

I keep slipping through the vaccination cracks.

First, the Japanese government decided to delay vaccinations, for god knows whatever reason. Then, even after starting vaccinations, their pace was 10,000 per day, meaning that the population would be vaccinated around the time the next pandemic rolled around.

After enough international and internal pressure, they decided to finally ramp up vaccines to 1 million per day.

“Finally!” we thought, “We’ll actually get vaccinated this century!”

I’m still behind everyone over 65, and Japan has a huge elderly population. To speed up vaccinations for younger people, they said that people under 65 (and possibly their families) could get vaccinated through their jobs, especially if they worked for a big company or a university.

Adam works for three different universities. Two of them offered vaccines, but neither included family members. So, Adam got vaccinated, and I was excluded.

The city of Tokyo said that young people going out at night were mostly responsible for the spread of the disease. This may be true, I don’t know, but it also sounds a lot like the usual—old people blaming young people for their problems.

The important part was that because of all of these supposed irresponsible young people, they said that they’d start prioritizing young people in Shinjuku (not too far from where I live). Again, I thought maybe I’d have a chance, but the young people that they’re prioritizing are in their 20s and 30s.

According to my municipality, I should get a vaccination card around July 15th, which would make me eligible to make an appointment at one of the numerous vaccination centers. Great!

Except, now many vaccination centers have cancelled appointments made after the end of June because… they’ve run out of vaccines.

Somehow, the Japanese government is surprised by this. Apparently, they weren’t expecting such a huge rush to get vaccinated. They thought the population would take the same laissez faire attitude that they took for months.

I’ll try not to rage over the fact that in the US, you can’t pay people to get vaccinated, and here, you can’t get one if your life depends on it (literally, I have a friend with about four different pre-existing potentially life-threatening complications, and she can’t get one).

Sorry, I know that pandemic gripes are passe, and for me, it’s mostly an inconvenience. I’ve already had an early variant of it, and my health is generally good. Everyone in Japan still has to take all of the usual precautions, which is merely annoying.

Despite what this entry sounds like, I haven’t spent most of my time worrying about the vaccine. I’ve spent it stressing over submitting my book.

I’ve allowed myself to stretch the submission process out a little bit. After I wrote the first version of my book, I rushed to submit. I ended up feeling pretty hurt and disappointed over the subsequent rejections.

Later, after doing more thorough research, I learned that I made a lot of typical mistakes, and that I’ve been making a lot of typical mistakes all along.

When I first started writing, I didn’t think I was the kind of person who made predictable mistakes. I figured that I’d make mistakes, but that they’d all be my mistakes. I thought, I’m so strange, no one knows what I’ll do!

As it turns out, hundreds of editors and agents knew. They also put those lessons out into the world to let me know about them.

I guess this predictable process is something we all just have to go through, and if you’re a writer, you go through it alone.

Anyway, one of the mistakes I made was rushing the submission process. I acted like the second I typed the last sentence of my book that there was suddenly a ticking clock. If it wasn’t published within a certain amount of time, it’d explode.

I have no idea why I thought this.

I submitted without fully understanding query letters. I submitted without having written a book proposal (with memoirs, you need both). That meant that when an agent replied to my query and asked me for a proposal, I had to scramble to write one (without fully understanding how to do that, either).

Besides all of that, I submitted my book before it was ready. I’ve since improved it exponentially by rewriting it.

Of course, being better than before doesn’t mean that it’s now suddenly good enough.

By the way, book sales are up 21% since last year. Can you believe it?

The past week or so, I’ve been researching and reading comparative titles for the proposal.

Also, I’m terrified of my book being out into the world. Am I jinxing myself by thinking this?

We had a relatively moderate spring, but now we’re getting into Japanese summer. I sort of enjoy the feeling of being hugged by the air. It’s like being in a bathroom just after someone has taken a hot shower (and put on a heat lamp). The whole world is a spa.

One comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: