On the way home from the poetry reading, you and Ashley talk about how you write a lot about Kmart and how you remember going to Kmart as a child, and how you wrote a chapbook about Kmart.
She says something about “literally taking on Kmart realism” and you say, “like I guess so.”
“What do you think will happen in New York?” she asks. “Do you think she’ll add you?”
Ashley is talking about Raquel the literary agent.
“I think it’s a real possibility.”
You do not have any readings in New York. You tried, but your brand is not strong enough to attract any real attention.
In Nashville, you mostly hang out with people who aren’t writers or don’t read much so it’s hard to develop an audience, it’s why no one likes your Kmart chapbook or your working-class neighborhood chapbook even though you live in a neighborhood of working-class people who shop at Kmart. Or used to shop at Kmart. Before they closed that one and then another one.
Think: “I have game.”
Think: “Only A-players here.”
Think: “Do people still say, ‘and one’ when they’re actually playing basketball?”
You lack talent, but more, unfortunately, you lack persistence.
Skill, talent, virtue. Those are difficult to apply.
You are never in the right place or the right time, except in your head.
You lack whatever makes a great writer, a great writer.
You got the connection with a literary agent through a website you write for sometimes.
“Tell her you’re writing a New York book,” Ashley says. “That’s what all New York people like.”