Oprah, do you know Ang Lee?

I went out to lunch with my parents, feeling a touch discouraged by the progression of my book (still waiting to hear back from two interested agents).  My mother, always a cheerleader, suddenly said, “Oprah, do you know Ang Lee?”

We all laughed, even as we wondered who out there, with our six degrees of separation, knows Ang Lee.  So, if you read this, and somehow your cousin once made a tall, skim, extra hot, no water Oprah Chai Latte for Ang Lee’s cousin…well, perhaps you could put in a good word?!?

Here’s my pitch:

“Inside the River,” is a story about carrying the shame of someone else’s wrongdoing and then letting it go.  It’s a story about reclaiming that which is divine and magical within all of us.  My book is an affirmation and a prayer of sorts, in whatever way you believe that to be: Ana grabbed a fist full of dirt with one hand and let the shadows out; Emma burned a bouquet of scents representing Antonio’s life of yearning and misread intentions; Carmen, the large and looming white-haired tambourine playing gypsy declared herself the leader of her tribe; and Eloisa carried the green bag with the magical book inside, believing it her destiny to search for the blue haired girl who made the fish forget their pact of silence and sing for freedom.

Ultimately, it is a story which asks the question: Is our life predetermined, already sketched in a magical book, or can we change what is on the page?

Thank you for reading, sharing, and maybe becoming some degree of separation…

xoxo

All living things contain a measure of madness–Life Of Pi

“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.”-Yann Martel, “Life of Pi”

As read on jeffjlin.com, Ang Lee, from the age of 30-36, with two kids and his wife supporting them, tries to get a script going.  Each new script was sent in and rejected.  For six years he kept his focus and although I assume he was dismayed and contemplating other forms of work, kept going.  I wonder how often he looks back on those years of uncertainty? I wonder how grateful he is for his own tenacity of will and craft? (I know I am)  Or maybe it’s a form of madness, this passion of purpose, unwavering and persistent?

In “Life of Pi”, the madness was with Richard Parker, the tiger, which allowed Pi his story of survival.  In my novel, “Inside the River,” Ana hears singing fish.  Magical Realism is such an appealing tool to show the elements of our imagination needed to adapt, thrive, and survive.  It opens up space for a new tunnel of experience, bordered by its own set of rules, its own reality.

Unlike fantasy, where a whole new world is created, magical realism inserts bits of magic into the world we live in, helping us to survive its madness.  I am attracted to this form of story, this off-centered truth, this raw and penetrating attempt to light up the dark spots of our minds.

 

 

“Inside the River” Query Letter

Thank you readers (and Ang Lee, even though he doesn’t know it yet) from 52 different countries for sharing this journey with me.

I’m seeking representation for my novel, “Inside the River.”  I believe this story will appeal to you because it explores the raw emotions of suffering and forgiveness.  There is also a magical book, a white haired tambourine playing gypsy, and the fish who forgot their pact of silence and sang.  “Inside the River,” bridges Magical Realism with Contemporary Women’s Fiction, and totals 94,000 words.

No life comes without some struggles — the toughest trick in life though is how to heal ourselves and love.  “Inside the River” follows the poignant stories of two women, separated by centuries, but connected by their shared history of having suffered as girls and then struggling to learn how to heal themselves and love years later in their lives.

In an ancient time when magic was still real Ana, a blue haired girl, hears fish singing, and jumps inside the river beside her small village to get away from her suffering.  In modern day New York City, Emma mysteriously hears the same song and responds, also to get away from her own suffering.  But are these two stories intertwined beyond a song from inside the river?

After crossing the river, Ana becomes a fortune teller and meets Eloisa, a red haired gypsy, who has been searching for the blue haired who made the fish forget their pact of silence.  Emma, on her way to a Starbucks in New York City, meets Antonio, an old man who tells Emma how the tinges of blue in her hair remind him of Ana, whose story was passed down through his family for centuries.  Indeed, Ana and Emma’s stories are eventually revealed to not only parallel, but also mysteriously interact and, in the unfolding of their lives, the reader learns how both women are able to heal and break the cycle of suffering.

“Inside the River” will appeal to book clubs — it is “The Shadow of the Wind,” meets anything by Paulo Coelho.  This is my debut novel.  I hold a BA in English Lit and a Masters in English and Writing Education.  The manuscript is complete and available at your request.

Thank you for your consideration.  I look forward to the possibility of working together.

Sincerely,

Mindy Levine