Now that kind of logic shouldn't make a lick of sense; after all, I've sold eleven stories now; you'd think I'd have figured out that, yes, I am a creative person, and yes, this story business is the real deal. Uh-huh. Right. I still freak out. To actually print out a cover letter, I have to triple proofread my two short paragraphs, take a break, and then ask somebody else to read it over. Who finds tons of mistakes I missed. When I know I'm printing a cover letter, I can't even type my own address with any kind of accuracy.
Maybe it's because you have to sign the letter. It's like a check, or a contract. You're promising that editor something. You're signing away your life on that promise. What if that editor collects on it? You're cheerfully getting ready for work one morning, and there's knock on your front door, and when you open it, there's an editorial assistant standing on your porch, flames coming out his nose and carrying a pitchfork. Your story sucked. He's here to collect your soul.
I'm breaking out in cold sweats just thinking about it.
You know, I still have time. The envelope doesn't even have stamps on it. There's still a chance I could change my mind, sparing myself that ugly visit. I mean, what if I need my soul? Doesn't a soul imbue my life with some kind of mystical energy that if I lose, I descend into the same empty state of existence as Willy Loman? Am I going to have to work in sales?
I managed to collect myself. I remembered that this writing business only calls for blood, sweat, and tears--soul is completely optional. I'm safe. This story is going out in the mail tomorrow!
Which means tonight I'm heading down to the crossroads. If my soul's not going to help me write a decent short story, I might as well get some kind of mileage out of it. I wonder what kind of deal Satan can give me ...