Playing the Referral Game + Junot Diaz Comparisons

Yesterday, TC Boyle admitted to me in his office that he made all of us in workshop read Junot Diaz (+ 3 other authors from Doubletakes), in part because he wanted the class to see some of the stylistic similarities between Brief Wondrous Life + yours truly.

--You know, I called that, I said. I actually told someone that I wondered whether you had us read Junot Diaz because it was similar in some ways to my own writing.
--No, it's true, he said.
--But I didn't wanna be egocentric, so I dismissed it as stylistic coincidence.
--No, you were right.

Fuck, how flattering is that shit?


Last year back when were just getting acquainted in our roles as writer-mentor, I asked TC Boyle one day in his office--because I'm ambitious like that--if he would give me a referral to four agents I was particularly in love with (Nicole Aragi, who I send a query letter to pretty much every year, Mary Evans + Eric Simonoff, both of whom have never responded to me, + Georges Borchardt, Tom's own agent). His response was fair: Let's work together in workshop in the fall + then I'll be happy to. Well, I never forget a promise, especially one involving my own writing career. So after we talked about the last two chapters I'd recently workshopped from The Ninjas of My Greater Self (my second novel), I asked him again + he was good to his word. It's an easier sell now I think because he has a much better idea of my aesthetic. And also, because he was especially impressed with the first chapter I submitted to workshop, "Girls: A Four-Movement Symphony by the Beastie Boys," the good thing is that he won't have to lie about my skillz. I could be wrong, but I don't think Tom goes out on a limb for his students unless:

1. He thinks they're talented
2. They initiate it themselves

So, I think it's a good sign he was still willing to give me a referral, but it's just a small step, one that promises nothing but opens up a new, dreamy--and very unlikely--possibility. But now, the real work begins. Getting a referral doesn't necessarily mean shit in this industry unless:

1. The agent has room in her/his client list, and most importantly:
2. They love the shit out of your novel. And just as importantly:
3. They know they can sell it

And of course, even in the best case scenario that all 4 agents ask to take a look at BLANK or Love + Porn--which won't happen--it's still very possible that I'm exactly where I was before I asked him.

And yet, yet, what other choice do I have? I have to risk the possibility of rejection in order to get my writing out there + create a readership. I have to do it for me + I have to do it for my art. I don't know another way except to keep pushing. Eventually, something breaks down, right? Eventually, someone pushes through. Why not me? Why not me? I ask you.