Unpublished Part One

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Due to this cruel creed I have spent a large part of my best-looking years writing books that I can’t seem to sell.  Beginning in fifth grade, when some attention starved nun had me read my essay entitled, “When I Met Jesus” to all the classes in the school, I have been convinced that this is my calling.  Not unlike Paul Giamatti’s character in Sideways, I have thrust my fat unpublished tomes into unsuspecting hands and alienated friends and family alike.

My most recent, and fourth book was finished in January despite twin boys that had arrived seven months before.  I had to be taken even more seriously now as a writer since I wasn’t dodging the mom label. With one son that was almost doable, with three, lunacy.  The urgency to finish East Meets Midwest was gallantly encouraged by my husband who was no doubt horrified by the sight of my monstrous feeding pillow and whirling electric pump. In a voice of pure authority he questioned when the last change had been made to the manuscript prior to my release from the maternity ward; I beamed with pride at thinking that he was thinking I was really a writer to be reckoned with.  He had encouraged my finishing the book after reading bits of the first chapters, noting that they weren’t half bad compared to the rest of the stuff I had written.  I bowed my head in thanks.

As was the natural order of things, when I thought it was done, really done, I sent it to my agent but only after contacting all close girl friends and insisting they give a big ‘good vibe’ thing at a certain time.  There are no bigger supporters than the ones that want you to be even marginally successful with the hopes that you will then shut the fuck up.

Let it be known that agent is a loosey goosey word when said agent’s husband was the second to best man in your wedding, and the only real toast giver due to first best man’s stage fright.  And not that a wedding isn’t a party but being really high on pot when you’re over 60 is only a good idea if you’re dying of cancer.

Well the agent had liked the ‘voice!” Sure she had complained about having absolutely no idea where the story was going, and had thought maybe structure, of some sort, was a good idea.  I hung on her every breath!  I had gotten this far!  I was a cool girl with an agent.  I rewrote.  “You’re still writing that same piece of shit book?” my sister inquired over the two years this novel took to write.  I put the babies on formula.  I wrote scenes where the protagonist was tired because I was.  I was so tired.

While waiting for THE response from the agent, the blessing from her greatness, I spent my phantom book money on a new family room. My eight year old spent his share on a train set, and then changed it to an actual train as the phantom sales skyrocketed.  We were rich!  We were famous.

She wasn’t even nice when she dumped me.  OK, like every damn woman I know who worked on the Obama campaign, even if that meant just saying Obama a hundred times a day, they had all found a higher plane, a higher purpose that didn’t allow for trivialities like attempting to sell a first time, STILL! novelist’s claptrap.
I knew I should have tried to muffle my wailing, intermingled with petrified weeping, in between Chardonnay sips. I knew the au pair was within ear shot and most likely thought she would be sent back to her war-torn country by the sound of things, and that maybe someone was sick, like the husband, and then where would the money come from?

But I couldn’t help it.  The ride was over.  The agent, vamoose.  Now it was query letters and convoluted instructions to ‘first murder your neighbor and send a sample of their finger nail along with a SASE to the following address, you crappy novice writer’.
I knew what was ahead and I wept for every moronic, self-deluded fool that continues to repeat to herself, if at first you don’t succeed.

Kim Berns

Kim Berns

Writer, Mother of 3 boys, Business Owner (kimbernsdesign firm), Wife, Feng Shui Apprentice, Sister, Athlete, Wine Drinker, Laundress, Suburban City-Girl, Corporate Lobbyist, Midwest Transplant


  • Betsy M. May 23, 2009 at 1:27 am

    Love this!!!!!!!

  • Suki May 23, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    hilarious! true to life, but with a much more interesting twist. great voice!

  • Beth Z May 23, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    There’s also another saying. He who laughs last… Silly agent. What does she know. Hair looks fabulous in the picture. Sister

  • ddb May 23, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Can’t wait to read the book when it is published. With writing like this, it will be!

  • Bonnie May 24, 2009 at 12:44 am

    It’s so good, to laugh this way. And you really can’t make this stuff up.

  • Debi May 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    No matter what we women must stick together forever , good giggle

  • Nomi May 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Love the pic and bio. Keep at it!

  • stephie May 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    You have the most AMAZING wit!! Laughing while typing….

  • Eileen May 24, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Hilarious writing. That agent will be mumbling ‘woulda, coulda shoulda’ when you make it without her.

  • ck May 25, 2009 at 2:18 am

    Just for the record, those close girlfriends would never tell you to shut the fuck up. They all say “tell us more.” – Close girlfriend

  • anne May 26, 2009 at 1:06 am

    As a brillian young lad I know would say:”That agent has rocks in her head!” Please send me the novel asap!!!And when did you get that straight hair? Pour me a sip, would ya?

  • Stephanie P May 26, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Funny! When do you have time to write anyway?You look fabulous!

  • Cam May 26, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Here’s another one for you: Luck is when opportunity meets hard work — and no one harder than you, sister! Get the hair extensions ready, Leno is prime time now. Love you, love your prose.

  • dpowers May 27, 2009 at 2:51 am

    “Rose is a rose is a rose.” Gertrude was talkin’ to you and don’t ever forget it.

  • Florence Quinn May 27, 2009 at 4:44 am

    Who was the best man? I can’t remember since, as Maxwell says: “Mom has miniature Alzheimers.” Or maybe it was the pot. A colleague just got discovered when an agent stumbled upon her blog, so keep blogging! Florence

  • Aunt Mildred Grace May 28, 2009 at 1:28 am

    Kim…except for the “who versus whom” in 1st line(sorry..you know how anal I am),this was so much fun to read: clever, witty, funny, brilliant. Dorothy Parker would be green w/ envy! Great pictures and how did you get straight hair? Love you……

  • the author May 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Regarding the hair, I finally discovered that a blowout doesn’t necessarily have to do with men or booze.

  • mimi May 28, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    are you kidding? this writing is fabulous. i love how honest and self deprecating it is. let’s send it to hollywood. i already know that kate hudson wants to play you.

  • jer June 5, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    A best seller and the millions that might follow would be fantastic, but it’s also about doing what you love, right? I love the writing. When are you posting the Feng Shui movie?

  • Jean Kay June 9, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Kim-Loved reading your very funny & creative blog. Think U should find a new agent & get your book published!! Can’t wait to read it-Jean K.

  • Diana June 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Fantastic! And you’re so pretty, I want to date you.

  • Erin Donovan August 6, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Don’t think there will be a Part 2, as with writing like this, you WILL be published soon! Hilarious!

  • alexandra April 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    SO TRUE!

    My pie in the sky was a guy I met where my son goes for track coaching.

    He had me hook, line and sinker.

    Then vanished. No longer able to contact him.

    All my dreams…

  • Jen February 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Ah, I understand too well. I feel like all my attempts at writing and anything else remotely “professional” have been a complete flop. There’s nothing quite like slamming one’s head against a wall until senseless.

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