Saturday, March 24, 2007

Goatie Goo

When my first wife and I were going through a divorce--amenable enough thankfully--my daughter was the one who suffered the most. I decided I'd write her a children's book to help ameliorate her pain. For the next several weeks I'm going to post a chapter at a time and see what kind of response I get. The title of the story is GOATIE GOO. I hope you like it. Please let me know.


Goatie Goo was born in a farming community on a winter night in the late part of December. The snow was falling lightly when his mother finally pushed him into existence. As births go, it was a difficult one. His mother knew almost from the time he began to grow inside her that he was different. And he was! For one thing he had blue hair covering his body. For another thing, his hair had a stickiness that felt much like glue, very powerful glue. Also, he was too big for a normal goat. Even at birth, Goatie Goo was almost the size of a normal adult goat. No wonder his mother was glad to finally see him panting and struggling to his hooves that cold December night. No wonder she was glad he was finally out of her and on the straw littered floor!
His hair being like glue was almost immediately realized. When he finally struggled onto his hooves, half the straw surrounding where his mother stood had clung to his hair. That was easily remedied though. Goatie Goo ate it! Goatie Goo ate straw. He didn’t eat hay! This wasn’t hay! This was the chaff left from the useful grain; the stuff goats and other animals lie on, not eat. And he ate it quickly!
But his mother hardly noticed that part. She was too distracted
by the color of his hair. Azure blue! As blue as the sky or the Pacific Ocean. As blue as the color of George Washington’s eyes if you believe the pictures you see in the calendars in grade school. Very blue hair. Almost immediately the other farm animals came to the stall to have a look. The light wasn’t very good inside the barn, but the blue seemed so bright that it almost lit up the place. His mother almost fainted! Now goats aren’t very sensitive creatures, so that is a very big deal about his mother almost fainting. She would have, but she remembered she was a goat, so she butted Goatie Goo with her horns. She wanted to push him out of her life, probably.
Of course, that’s when she really understood the power of Goatie Goo’s gooiness. Her horns stuck to his side. He walked forward and because he was already larger than she, she was pulled forward also. She could have fainted then and none of the other animals would have noticed. Goatie Goo’s goo was so powerful, she would have remained suspended as if she were standing by her own will. She would have cried, but goats don’t cry. Most goats, when they have the urge to cry, will eat an old tin can. People don’t know that fact, normally. But she didn’t cry and there were no tin cans lying around.
She was attached to his side for a while. No matter what she tried to do to disengage herself, she was unsuccessful. After some time, the other animals lost interest. The novelty of Goatie Goo was wearing off. Plus they were getting hungry. They went away from the stall and before long, Goatie Goo and his mother were alone. Goatie Goo’s mother soon realized there was no possible way she could get herself free from the side of her son. She thought a lot while she was stuck to him. What did it really matter that he was blue? He was a very handsome goat after all. He looked very much like her, she thought. What did it matter that his hair was like glue? Goats loved glue! That’s mostly why they were so famous for eating tin cans. The taste of the glue that kept the labels stuck that they loved to eat, kept them from crying. It was very delicious. And he was so calm. He just stood there, the weight of his mother pulling at his side. He never bawled like other goats would have a tendency to do under the same circumstances. Plus, while she was attached to him she felt a kind of kinship with him. He was her son, and he seemed to be a very nice boy-goat. He had beautiful eyes and he had a way of looking out toward some distant object that couldn’t be seen by anyone else. He seemed, she thought, like some kind of miracle.
And like a miracle, as soon as she thought the thought, she became detached from her son’s side. She was free! But the curious part was that she wasn’t as happy as she had anticipated she would be. She felt a kind of emptiness when she became unstuck from his goo. Suddenly she felt shy around him. She realized that he hadn’t made a sound! He hadn’t said one single goat word. No baaah! NOTHING! She felt shy, because she realized he was DIFFERENT! How could she have produced this, this blue goo? How could she have become responsible for this blue-haired, goo-haired goat?
And then it came to her. She would call him Goatie Goo! If he was different, and he certainly was different, then he should have a name. She thought of adding “with hair of blue,” but decided against that part. That part sounded too familiar. And once she gave him a name, she loved him. It’s like anything else, she thought. Once you help in the creation, you fall in love. She knew she wasn’t exactly responsible for producing this blue-haired, goo-haired goat, but she knew the name was all hers. GOATIE GOO! Now that was a good name!

Sunday, March 11, 2007


It's been quite a journey in the last few months. I queried my novel to Richard Abate (ICM) last September and November he responded by telling me that he like the novel a great deal but he thought there should be some changes made. Between teaching and going to grad school, I made the changes and while I was wrapping them up, I began to query other agents. I told them what Abate had said about the novel. One agent, in Baltimore, without reading the entire query, inferred from the first sentence that I had suggested Abate suggested I seek her. That just wasn't true. Further more, she accussed me of being a liar. I was certain I had lost the possibility of having Abate represent the novel, so I went on querying. In the meantime Abate lefte ICM for Endeavor and is now being sued by ICM for breaking his contract. Justice? He never once asked me what my side of the story was. In the past three weeks, I've had about ten agents read either part or all of the novel. Some have turned it down, (one likened my writing to Richard Ford, and, I think, with further changes would re-read) but Steve Schwartz at Sarah Jane Freymann Agency has made an offer. I'm delighted, of course, but before I sign, Harvey Klinger has asked for the rest of the manuscript after reading fifty pages and Jill Grinberg has the novel as well. Steve Schwartz sounds confident and the Freymann Agency is very reputable, but they don't sell much fiction. I guess I have to wait a few days more. Harvey Klinger agency sells about ten books a month and a lot of them are fiction. I guess I'm going to wait and see what he says. Anyone out there have any suggestions?