Okay, today’s nugget of crap that needs transforming is one near and dear to all of us. Failure. I received another rejection email. Ugh. It’s such a rotten, rotten feeling. A year or so of work to write and revise the novel, only to be met with those one or two sentences that basically say, “sorry, you suck.” But I sent the agent a thank you note, and then dove into my bed, put pillow over my head and swore I would never come back out. I mean you set out knowing this is going to be tough, but does it always have to be so damned debilitating?
But the dog needed a walk and my mother complained about needing food, so my wallowing session was short lived. It’s times like this that I turn to my bookcase and seek inspiration from those who have gone before me (and managed to get themselves agents and got THEIR books published) I keep veering back to Carlos Castaneda and his character Don Juan, the Mexican medicine man he studied with. In the book “Journey to Ixtlan” Don Juan reminds us that:
“When a man decides to do something he must go all the way…but he must take responsibility for what he does, he must know first why he is doing it, and then me must proceed with his actions without having doubts or remorse about them.”
Great. I get it – intellectually. All of the great teachers who say these profound words make my brain happy. But my heart is still heavy. I have no doubts in my ability to write, but dang, it sucks eggs when others doubt you. And there is remorse. When is the work good enough? At some point you take the plunge and send out the query letter. Egad, no wonder so many writers turned to drink. So back to the bookshelf. Ah, here we go, good old Rumi (12th or 13th century, Sufi poet. Google him, it’s worth it) And one of my favorite poems, “Desire and the Importance of Failing.” Ah-ha, my failure is important. That makes me smile. Here are a few stanza’s:
God fixes a passionate desire in you,
And then disappoints you.
God does that a hundred times!
God breaks the wings of one intention
And then gives you another,
Cuts the rope of contriving,
So you’ll remember your dependance.
But sometimes, your plans work out!
You feel fulfilled and in control.
That’s because, if you were always failing,
You might give up. But remember,
It is by failures that lovers
Stay aware of how they’re loved.
Failure is the key
To the kingdom within.
“Remember, it is by failures that lovers, stay aware of how they are loved.” Okay, heart feels a little bit better, I can blame it all on God for making me want to be a published author in the first place. The desire to dive back into bed the still feels like the best option. But, that would just make me feel guilty that I’m not getting any work done, add that to feeling like a failure and hello – drinking binge. Nope. Not going there. I’ll just remind myself that LOTS of great writers suffered through the whole rejection nonsense. That each time I venture out to string words together, by the time I get to the end of the sentence, I am already a better writer than when I started.
So, thanks for listening to me today, I promise not to be so self-indulgent in the future. Any one have any other “rejection blues” antidotes they want to share?