Dear agent, dearest:
My memoir, Army Wife / Archetype: Retelling the Myth of the Waiting Wife, is the recounting of my exploration of mythical archetypes. As the wife of a reservist desperate to prove himself by going to war, I had a far different relationship with our mild modern wars than any Trojan hero's wife. Once he was gone, I did not miss my husband. And yet, I love him; I am faithful to him. Today he is in Kuwait for his second tour as an Army Reservist. I am bereft, not of my husband, but of companions-in-arms; there is no community of military wives here in Portland, Oregon.
Upon learning my husband would be deployed I began looking for kindred spirits, for operating manuals, for the comfort of knowing my path; I found none. I was deprived of textbook models, separated from most military wives not just by thousands of miles and the specifics of our station, but by a gulf of understanding. My book looks for company beyond the modern military wife, to the Greeks. Not just Penelope -- constant, wise, flawless Penelope -- for she is not equal to the shifting, roaring, impatient, passionate, homefront warrior I see in the mirror.
I found a new sort of model in the mythical hero. My story starts nearly a year before my husband leaves for war, and examines with a closer lens all the real people and daily struggles behind the front-page photographs. I wait for the orders as Penelope; I celebrate Veteran's Day as Achilles. On a visit home, I am Odysseus, stomping around with murder on my mind. Am I Penelope? Yes, but thoroughly no. I'm all hero: full of flaws fatal and banal, bigger than life, tempestuous, passionate, and still, constant as the moon.
I may be remote, but my chorus is large. It is the waiting wives, the girlfriends and the fiancees and the women left behind who do not fit the trope of the television series, Army Wives. There are hundreds of thousands of them -- 364,000 National Guard and Reserve soldiers have been deployed in the last 10 years alone -- women who are un-beautiful; who care more about compost heaps than cashmere; who live far from military bases, and whose menfolk do not use satellite phones from their tents. These men unload airplanes and sleep in wide concrete barracks and never once have had to use their IED training. Mine will glimmer among these vast, sparkling, untold stories.
For the past seven years, I have blogged: first for the software startup where I worked and then as a full-time job at AOL's Weblogs, Inc. unit. At AOL, I regularly wrote pieces read by more than a million. I am now a freelance writer for business publications including award-winning personal finance web site Get Rich Slowly. I have been published in literary journals and magazines, including United's Hemispheres magazine, the Oregon Humanities magazine, and a recent piece for which I was awarded the 2011 Water~Stone Review Judith Kitchen Creative Nonfiction Prize and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I have a large and engaged audience, comprising 5,000 Twitter followers, 500 Facebook friends, and 10,000 weekly visits to my personal blog.
I, willing to rip out my throat and hold it pulsing over my kitchen battlefield, am the one to take this hero's quest. My proposal is available upon request. I look forward to hearing from you.
If you wish to read the proposal, please email me: sarahgilbert at gmail dot com.