Saturday, July 09, 2005

It's all relative, according to Einstein

"The special theory of relativity was based on two main postulates: first, that the speed of light is constant for all observers; and second, that observers moving at constant speeds should be subject to the same physical laws. Following this logic, Einstein theorized that time must change according to the speed of a moving object relative to the frame of reference of an observer. Scientists have tested this theory through experimentation - proving, for example, that an atomic clock ticks more slowly when traveling at a high speed than it does when it is not moving. The essence of Einstein's paper was that both space and time are relative (rather than absolute), which was said to hold true in a special case, the absence of a gravitational field."

OK, so I sucked at physics. In fact, I never even took it in high school. I took a year of biology, a year of chemistry and fulfilled my science requirements. Physics was too much like math.

But time IS relative. Especially when you're waiting on submissions that take MONTHS.

Look at this: time must change according to the speed of a moving object (my manuscript in an editor's pile) relative to the frame of reference of an observer (me).

Why is it when faced with an unpalatable task like weekly cleaning day, time flies. But when you're waiting for something REALLY important like "yes Ms. Alward we'd love to buy your manuscript and do you have any more" or "no Ms. Alward we're passing this time but please put this behind you and work on something new", time drags. Interminably.

By now you've probably gathered that there's more to this story than general whinging, so I'll elaborate.

I sent a partial to Avalon last August. Within 12 days, it traveled from Alberta to NYC, was read, requested, and I had the hot little letter in my hands.

With all due haste I polished the full, encased it in tyvek and sent it off September 9.

This spring I e-mailed - twice - to check on it. Waiting I was fine with. It being lost was another story, and I simply wanted to know one way or another. Or so I thought.

Then, I heard the dreaded word.


Soon. Of course. It's near the top of the queue, Ms. Alward, and should be read quickly. You'll hear from us very soon.

That was over a month ago.

When my daughter wants cereal for breakfast, "soon" means probably within the next fifteen minutes. After all, her morning is really only 4 hours long from rising until noon. But when your manuscript has been sitting on an editor's desk for 10 months, "soon" doesn't really have a timeline. It could be two days or it could be 2 months. Or more. In publishing all bets are off and "soon", I've discovered, is really quite an ambiguous word.

So for now, I guess I'll just sit back, and um, wait.


  1. Oh, honey. I so know what you mean. I went through the same thing, and now I'm waiting AGAIN. The editor said she was reading it three weeks ago, so I'm holding my breath.

    Feeling a little lightheaded now ;)

    Good luck!

  2. Fabulouos post! Soon stinks.

  3. Donna.

    Waiting does suck. I am waiting too. It's making me grouchy. I have to do things to keep myself away from the house so I'm not haunting my email. I went to Calaway park for 5 hours with my son today, and got home and had 1 new message on my webmail. 1??

    Anyhow, enough about me. You stick in there girl. I have good feelings for you about Avalon.


  4. Don't you just hate the word soon? Ugh. Soon usually means three months. Yikes.

  5. Fiona L11:52 a.m.

    At least you're keeping your sense of hunour - just about.

    All your patience will pay off one day!