It has been a whirlwind for a couple of months! I think since June of this year there has not been one month of some type of major change. Moving across the country, changing jobs, revisiting old passions, discovering brand-new ones, losing friends, and making new ones.
But this past week has had me thinking, re-evaluating, and questioning. This past week has forced me to take a deep look at the very essence of who I am and who I want to be.
Let’s back up! Three months ago, I sent out queries to publishing companies about my novel ‘The Writer and the Librarian’. Despite the fact that I did not know what the ending would be, or that it was only half written. My hope was that it would inspire me to finish the race. To complete one goal that I had set for myself. To write a novel.
Seems easy enough. Sit at the computer, write words in a coherent manner, and make sure that there are no major typos.
The book cover was even designed. It’s perfect! I love it.
And until a week ago, there was no pressure. It was something to do on my off time. I was able to be lazy because in all honesty, no one thought that I would do it. Don’t get me wrong, I had supporters. And when I brought it up in conversations, they would engage for a few minutes before changing the subject. But writing is a solo practice, driven by personal demons and fairies and it is not something that you can put into words over dinner.
Then I got an email on Friday afternoon a week ago. A request for the entire manuscript. You got to be kidding me! Did you email the right person? Are you sure you meant this Rose and not another one?
Nope- they spelled my last name correctly. So, they must have meant to contact me.
Was it done? No! Did I have an outline? No!
But for the first time, someone outside of my tiny circle of supporters had faith in my writing. They thought it was good enough to take a chance on me. So, I buckled down for 72 hours of writing, stress, and a small nervous breakdown.
And I finished.
And I was happy.
I’m sure even if the publishing company tells me they absolutely love it, it will still come back with 82% of it red marked for changes. I am sure that I still have a long road in front of me, but someone liked it.
That was enough for me.
Then what follows is the truth of wanting to be something more than what you are. Where my mantra of ‘Be Great at what you are Good at!’, failed me.
The seed of doubt has crept in and blurred my confidence. What if they don’t like it? What if it is horrendous and something that only my mother would love?
Could I handle being rejected? I have been told that I don’t handle rejection well. That I tend to give up easily. I nearly asked for the manuscript back. It’s true, I fail more than I succeed. So why would this be different?
Can I tell you a secret? The majority of my first career was spent being told I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t funny enough to be in the cool kid’s club. I wasn’t pretty enough to be a part of the ‘gang’. I was too fat, too slow, too awkward. Over time, I became a bit**. Not because I wanted to be. Just because it was easier than begging to be invited to the party.
This is not a pity party, but rather an acknowledgement that events mold you into what you have become. Despite being an adult, others find my faults and point them out with glee. And you must take criticism in stride. Because that is what we do now. We criticize others because everyone has the right to express themselves as they wish – regardless of the consequences. It’s part of being an adult- giving up a part of yourself for the greater good of others.
The consequences of 21+ years fighting for a spot have come with a price. My faith in myself.
Now I sit. Waiting for a response to my manuscript. Not wanting to get hopeful, trying to curb my excitement because I was told that I don’t handle rejection well.
But I want my name on a book. I would love for it to be sitting on a Barnes and Nobles shelf. I would like someone to pick it up because they like the cover and take it home. I want them to read it while taking a bath and think- maybe magic did exist.
Because the book is an extension of my daily dance with shadows. The dark thoughts that are not allowed to be spoken, the secrets that must be locked away with a key. These secrets must be hidden on a high shelf in a dark closet and never brought to light. Through this book, I was able to forge a path to hell that seemed reasonable and realistic.
The book is my own way of finding hope. That magic exists. That myths and happy endings are true. And that evil is not always what it seems to be….
The sun is rising friends. Another day. The shadows must be tucked away, and the face of confidence needs to be reattached. My war face. Time to be great at something that I am good at.