In October of 2010, I was getting ready to submit my recently finished third novel Badge to agents. This process involves writing a query letter, and it’s important to have a good one. I busied myself writing the best query letter possible, and I took a draft of it to my writing group for critique. The last paragraph of the letter read as follows:

My second novel, Ghost Notes, released on my own imprint in 2008, won the 2009 PODBRAM Award for best work of contemporary fiction. My work has appeared in The Writer and Writers’ Journal, and I am also a  contributing writer at The Nervous Breakdown. In the 1990s, I was co-founder, co-songwriter and bass player with the Refreshments, a band that sold over 400,000 units worldwide, had a hit single (“Banditos”), and wrote and recorded the theme song for the Fox television series King of the Hill. I live with my wife, artist Raquel Edwards, in Portland, Oregon.

“That’s not what it says.”

I stop singing. A moment of confusion. I’ve never questioned the lyrics to this song. They’re as burned into my head as my name across the back of my childhood belt.

“It says this,” and she gives me her take on the lyrics.

And guess what? Her lyrics actually make sense. And it isn’t until then I realize that my lyrics make no sense at all. It’s a little embarrassing; as a writer and songwriter, I’m supposed to pay attention to these things. I’m supposed to care.

But I don’t.