By Ellen Meister
A few months ago, my agent called with news that could change my life forever. No, it wasn't The Call. It was a call. All lower case with an indefinite article. Why? Because the news was merely a possibility. An exhilarating chance that my career could soon soar.
This, I have to admit, has been the pattern of my life. My good news has never come in one life-changing, confetti-falling-from-the-ceiling phone call. Instead, it comes in tiny, excruciating teases.
I should have seen this pattern emerging back when I was trying to conceive my first child. We had been hoping for so long, and I was desperate to see my dream finally come true. Back then, home pregnancy kits weren't as sensitive as they are now, so if you wanted a quick answer you needed a blood test.
I was under the care of a specialist, so when I suspected I might be pregnant at last, I ran to the doctor's office and had my blood drawn. Then I went to work and waited for ... The Call.
It was four o'clock by the time the doctor phoned. Oh, please, I thought, when I heard his voice. Please, please, please, please, please.
The news? My hormone levels indicated pregnancy, but the lab had a problem and they were rerunning the tests.
Wait. What? Am I pregnant or not?
The next hour-and-a-half were pure torture. But at last, I got the news that made me weep with joy.
It was the same thing when I wrote my first book and tried to get a literary agent. For months and months, I sent out queries and suffered the agony of rejection, all the while fantasizing about The Call That Would Answer My Prayers.
When at last my caller ID showed the 212 area code of a wonderful New York City literary agent, my heart almost stopped beating. Was this it? The agent, sounding ebullient, wanted me to know that her assistant read my book and loved it, and that she would be reading it herself over the next few days and would get back to me soon.
Thunk. More waiting.
It was the same pattern when I learned that my first book had been sold to a major publishing house. And my second. And my third. All the phone calls began, "We have an offer, but ..."
I suppose I'll never get the-call-that-feels-like-someone-has-just-knocked-on-my-door-with-TV-cameras,- balloons-and-a-giant-check. But I have to admit that the news I got from my agent a few months ago feels pretty damned close. And so, at last, here it is ...
My friends, HBO has optioned THE OTHER LIFE for a television series.
Ellen Meister lives in New York and is the author of three novels. Her latest, THE OTHER LIFE, has been optioned by HBO for a TV series, and is available in stores today. To order online, visit any cyber bookseller, including
For more information, visit her website at ellenmeister.com.