Anxiety runs in my family. It’s a trait on the Gordon side, passed down along with above average height (which somehow skipped over me) and sitting on the carpet with only one knee up. For example, Grandpa Doug was probably the best-loved high school biology teacher Redding will ever know, entertaining thousands of students over his long years of teaching. His stories are some of my most treasured memories, and I’ve been told by a string of his former students that they feel the same way.

What those students almost certainly didn’t know was his years of Prozac use to help keep calm enough to function.

That’s a trait that at least partially passed on to me. When I was in high school, my mom would tell me that I’d get ulcers by the time I was thirty with the way I carried on (though I’m two years past that expiration date and still trucking, ulcer free). I see the same attributes in my kids, too. For example, Kella freaked out the other day because Finley was testing the CO2 alarms around the house. “You’re going to bring the fire department!” she cried in a manner beyond the typical childhood fear. My mother-in-law’s theory was that she was overly affected by Finley being hauled off in an ambulance after each of his seizures. Mine is a bit more straightforward: the Gordon Family anxiety.

I bring this up because right now that anxiety is burning out my insides, crying out for me to do something, even though there’s nothing I can do about this particular problem.

See, years ago, I wrote a book that I had worked on for a very long time, and finally thought it was good enough that a few literary agents might see its potential. I shipping it off to a crazy number of agents, only to be rejected or ignored again and again.

With thousands of people querying agents every year, I really wasn’t a surprise that my pitches were turned down, but that didn’t make it any less disappointing.

Now, several books later, I was finally convinced by my lovely wife that I should try to submit my latest to that first line of defense into the publishing world. I spent a while crafting the pitch and sending it to the appropriate amount of agents, not really expecting anything more than a string of form letters telling me “Thanks for your part in inundating my inbox, but I’ll have to pass.”

That’s how it started, too, with two quick rejects from the local literary agencies.

Then, while I was checking through my junk mail on Tuesday, there it was. An acceptance. An agent who liked my pitch, who liked my sample chapters, and wanted to read the rest.

I had to read through it three times before the words finally made sense. I was sure I skipped over the word NOT in the middle of the sentence¬†“I would like to read more.”

For about a month, this is what I had told myself that I wanted. The book didn’t need to be accepted by an agent or a publisher, I just needed to get past that first audition, so to speak.

That Gordon anxiety begs to differ. Now that someone in the industry is actually reading the book, I can’t help but wonder what she thinks as she goes along. Will she notice a blatant mistake that I didn’t clean up on my fourth edit. Will she think the characters banal and stereotypical? Will she just think the whole thing is crap and believe I hoodwinked her through a fabricated pitch?

During weeks like this, I can understand why medication is necessary for some people. I’m amped way the frig up over something that’s completely and totally out of my hands. What’s more, it’s really not that big a deal. If it does get rejected, so what? There’s more agents, more books to write, more important things that this one project.

If only that adrenaline pumping through my veins would get the message.

Anyway, that’s my quick detour from this month of NaNoWriMo (11,648 words and counting). If the current project doesn’t go through, I think I have a fun one brewing it the wings. Maybe a year from now, after all the editing and rewrites and markups are done, I’ll get to go through this whole process all of this again.