Thursday, October 25, 2012

Banana Peelin' with Tiffany Strelitz Haber


It’s almost Halloween and I know what you must be thinking. She’s had a robot, a vampire , a zombie, but NO flippin’ monsterly  peeps on the blog this month!  Wud up with that? Well, thankfully the wonderful and kind Tiffany Strelitz Haber couldn’t let that happen. The author of  The Monster Who Lost His Mean, (a book just written up in The New York Times Book Review), brings us a story that I am pretty sure most of us can identify with…

 Embarrassment bites the big one.  I’m actually embarrassed to even TELL this marginally absurd story of massive overreaction (by more than just one participant).  But alas…here goes….

 This particular Banana Peel Moment took place just as I started to pursue a career in children’s books. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and I was stalking, er…checking out websites of publishing companies that seemed to have an affinity for rhyme.  I quickly discovered an editor I will now refer to as “Dragon of Death”.  Just Kidding.  I’ll call him, “Richard”.

Anyway, so there was an email address for “Richard” and I used it to send some samples of my writing and inquire about his submission policy.  (It was a small press that primarily published humorous poetry collections).  At the time I was writing tons of that stuff.


A couple of days later, I received an email back saying that not only did he love my work, but he had gone onto my website and learned more about me.  I DIED.   This was clearly my big chance to get my foot in the door of children’s book publishing and then pry it open and run through!  We go back and forth via email a couple times.  He’s super duper friendly, asking me all sorts of questions and being really complimentary and it was awesome.  He asks if I’ve written anything longer.  I say yes.  He asks to see it.  I say YES, and send it immediately. 

 And then I wait.  And I wait for what feels like a completely impossible amount of time.  Like my whole world has been sucked inside some sort of sci fi black hole of frozen silence hell and all I can hear in my head is TICK.  TOCK.  TICK.  TOCK.  I mean, we had been emailing back and forth for like 30 minutes.  Why would he suddenly go completely silent the moment I sent my story??  Something was wrong.  He must not have gotten it.  He’s just sitting there waiting for it, right?  And I’m sitting there waiting for him while he’s waiting for me and…oh lord, this can’t be good.  I need to send it again.


And so I did.  I sent it again with an adorable note saying I wasn’t sure that it had gone through, and just in case, this was my second attempt and if he could just let me know that he had in fact received it, that would be super duper fab.  And then came the silence.  Again with the silence!  Couldn’t he just say “thanks, got it!” and call it a day?  He must not have gotten it.  It must be something with the attachment.  It wasn’t going through and I was going mad and everything that had been going so well was now unraveling like a thrift store sweater.   But instead of walking away from the computer like a normal, sane, woman (maybe the man got up to pee!  Or do something that takes a bit longer than pee!)….I felt I needed to email again.  And so I did.  Just the one last time because I was absolutely certain that the attachment hadn’t gone through and that one last time couldn’t hurt and then I would close my computer and call it a day.  And then he wrote back. 


I don’t remember the subject line.   I do remember feeling a little sick inside when I read it though. 


I opened the email.

PLEASE STOP EMAILING ME INCESSANTLY!!  I RECEIVED YOUR STORY, AND QUITE FRANKLY EVERYTIME I OPEN AN EMAIL FROM YOU MY ENTIRE COMPUTER SHUTS DOWN AND RESTARTS.  THIS IS DESTROYING MY DAY.  PLEASE STOP WRITING TO ME!! THANKS. 


Yes…it’s harsh.  It’s completely unprofessional, and it is perhaps- borderline mentally insane.  And maybe so am I.  But it crushed me.   I truly believed, in that moment, that I demolished any chance I would ever have of getting anywhere in this business.  He would tell everyone to avoid me like the plague. I was the email of death and I would be black listed across all 50 states and probably Canada as well.

EPILOGUE


And now I look back….and it’s hilarious. Yup!  Like scream laugh, pee in your pants, fall on the floor funny!  (I’ve now referenced “pee” three times in this story and that’s weird)  But maybe that’s the thing about Banana Peels.  You slip and you fall and it hurts.  But when you look back, it’s all just pretty freaking ridiculous.  And also…maybe…you learn something.

25 comments:

  1. That's hilarious, Tiffany! I've also had the urge to email my editors, but I don't want to annoy them. But what an unprofessional email he sent you. And I bet you never heard back on your story, correct?

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  2. That IS hilarious! The e-mail of death? Was your story about a virus or something? And everything worked out okay in the end. Yea!!!

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  3. The email of death - ha! You'd think he'd have enough empathy to understand how much authors obsess over this stuff. Why couldn't he just say he'd gotten it? Anyway, UN-lucky for him that you ended up going elsewhere!

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  4. Oh my...Tiffany! Hysterical. Too bad for the Dragon of Death that he didn't snatch you up when he had the chance!

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  5. That is hilarious. So glad things have worked out for you. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  6. OMG Tiffany! So funny! And haven't we all been there with that waiting for the email and wondering if it went through and couldn't they just let you know they GOT it so you can start worrying about whether they LIKE it! Thanks for sharing your banana peel moment. :)

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    1. How agonizing! Thanks for your comment Susanna!

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  7. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Choking on my sandwich! The funniest part is... I actually remember this HAPPENING!!! Like you were probably instant messaging me while it was going on asking me what you should do!

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  8. Too, too funny and excruciatingly embarrassing, Tiffany! At the very least he shouldn't have used full caps for his entire mail. Sheesh!

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  9. Hollywood needs this one - I can see it clearly, the decreasing space between your wide eyes and the screen, the nail-biting, the eyebrow dance. Thanks for sharing it, Tiffany!

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  10. HEE!!!! That is just perfection. Would have done the same damn thing. :)

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  11. Thanks for sharing your story, Tiffany. It gives all of us, who have had the let-me-email-one-more-time bug, some hope that we can make it out alive on the other side!

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  12. Thanks you guys for making me feel not-so-much like a total freak!!! <3 <3 <3

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    1. Thank you SO much for contributing Tiffany! Great post. Although, I must say, I don't think I have learned much because I still have an itch to send a thrid follow up email. =) Dun, dun, DUN!

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  13. Oh, I know that feeling. I feel my cheeks grow hot more often than I'd like to admit. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  14. Ha! Bet he's kicking himself in the pants for YELLING at you. Oh that silly, silly little editor.

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  15. You were right the first time. "Richard" IS The Dragon of Death! No wonder you wrote a book about a monster losing his mean. Coincidence? I don't think so!

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  16. Dorina Lazo GilmoreOctober 26, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    Super funny! I love/hate the capital letters! Thanks for sharing to encourage us all.

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  17. I am just getting over here after being away from technology for a few days! How funny! I got a good laugh this morning. Thanks for sharing this hilarious banana peel moment with us Tiffany!!!

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  18. Oh wow!!! I would have been devastated. And then, like you, I would have laughed.

    Glad you've made it to the other side!!

    sf

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