He's Only the Ghost of a Giant
By Red Dirt Kelly on June 05, 2012
In this Chapter, the writings of past Giants told that villagers begin acting very strangely if they see even so much as a hint or shadow of a Giant! He read that the elder villagers begin running around like crazy to grab up the younger ones then rush them into their little cottages before Giants can even get near enough to say, “Hello!” or “How do you do?” He read that they slam their doors and close their shutters and they don’t venture back out until they feel certain that whatever Giant was looming around has long been gone.
Georgie did not like Chapter Four one teeny little bit.
~ excerpt from Georgie the Giant, an unpublished manuscript
During the Spring of 2006, I received a phone call from my daughter who was a student at the Kansas City Art Institute. Our conversation went something like this:
"Hi, mom...I have a really big favor to ask you. Mom, it's a big one. Are you ready for this?"
"Um, hi sweetheart. Wow, that's an interesting way to start our phone call. Is this going to involve me driving to Kansas City for some reason?"
"No, mom! No...silly. No. [background: 'ha, ha - she thought I was going to ask her for something out of my bedroom or something - ha, ha] No...I need you to help me do an assignment."
Uh, oh. Now I was having immediate Former-Helicopter-Parent-Turned-Love-And-Logic-Proponent-When-Children-Were-In-Middle-School PTSD flashbacks. She wanted me to do her homework??
"Honey..." I began. "Look, you know I can't help you with an assignment. That's cheating!"
"Oh. My. Larry. MOM...please! No! I want you to write out the manuscript of one of the stories you used to tell us. I want you to write out the manuscript of 'Georgie the Giant.' I'm in my calligraphy workshop now and I want my final project to be a hand-bound copy of Georgie the Giant in this really amazing font I've chosen. So, breathe. And, will you do that? Mom, you KNOW Georgie is publish-worthy."
Suddenly in my mind I was in my younger daughter's bedroom, crouched into the lower bunk telling my five and nine year old girls all the ups and downs of Georgie's life. My eyes welled up with tears. I blinked them away as I remembered telling a group of seventh graders the same story in our living room, and then a group of high school students the story again as we all lay on our backs one summer night. We were balancing our heads into precariously comfortable positions on the concrete, staring at the stars and I told them all the tale of Georgie the Giant and how things in his life finally worked out.
I ran to get a Kleenex box. Then for the next week I was on my computer every spare minute to finish the manuscript so that Rachel could begin her project.
Sweet Holy Moses, that story was longer than I had thought it would be.
I got it done...for her. But the ending isn't quite the same for me. Nor for the artist who eventually illustrated the work.
You see, Rachel's best friend and I talked and she agreed to create the art for a book to pitch to publishers...in other words, Georgie was going to get my best effort at publishing. So she finished her end of the bargain. And, I polished the manuscript over and over...and over.
But then there was the publishing problem.
First, I tried a year's worth of letters to publishers with copies of the manuscript, being careful not to send another out until the first had been rejected.
Then there was the vanity publishing contract I received from Tate Publishing. Simply pay them $4500 and they would handle "my wonderfully crafted project, sure to be a hit with my readers!" I never felt quite right about that, didn't really have the money, and what do you know? This past week I was affirmed by that weird feeling in a horribly voyeuristic and sad way. If you have twenty minutes and want to hear a really horrific boss belittle his employees, just follow that link.
After declining the Tate offer, I tried working with a friend who published books. But he was busy, then he had a baby, and he lived in California while I made my home on the Oklahoma prairie. We haven't corresponded in over a year.
And now it is June, 2012. And unfortunately, Georgie yet remains only the ghost of a Giant.
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