It’s come to this! I had my first dream about writing query letters. It must have been Manny’s reference to Ernest Shackleton because I was aboard the ship, Endurance, which was trapped in the Antarctic ice floes and slowly being reduced to splinters. I followed the other crew members as Shackleton led us onto the ice: the time had come to abandon ship and begin a desperate march across the frigid continent towards safety.
To ensure our swiftness, he asked each of us to take no more than two pounds of personal possessions: to take an ounce more could mean death. Then, to drive this point home in our hearts as well as our heads, he held aloft a bible given to him by Queen Alexandria. From it he tore several pages including one from the Book of Job. He read us this verse:
Out of whose womb came the ice?
And the hoary frost of Heaven, who hath gendered it?
The waters are hid as with a stone.
And the face of the deep is frozen.
His voice trailed off as he laid the bible in the snow. One by one, the crew members went back onboard to retrieve their essentials. I turned to go and discovered I was holding a ream of paper – it was my manuscript. Then I heard Shackleton’s voice, “leave behind all but what is needed for your query letter.”