Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Just Another Long, Fly Ball

I know you’re not supposed to talk about these things online, but I’m going to. 

I’ve just had a big disappointment.


To speak plainly, I had a book on submission for almost a year, and now it’s no longer on submission.

Some of you know me and know more about what’s been going on behind the scenes. Let me just say thank you to all you awesome writer-buddies for your support and camaraderie. I know you know what this feels like. And to everybody who’s visited the blog and left comments this year, I thank you as well and apologize for not replying to comments as much as I should have. My energy, especially this past month, has been at an all-time low. 

I hope you’ll forgive me if I withdraw from The Internets for a while and lick my literary wounds. The timing is right anyway since the holidays are almost here, and I’m sure, like me, you’ll soon decamp to your bucolic winter cabins in the Catskills to make mulled wine and popcorn strings with cherished family members, all of whom are wearing matching sweaters. (Oh, no, wait. That's the L.L. Bean catalog. I get that confused with my own life sometimes....)

For sure there are bigger tragedies in the world than not selling your book. But, still, it’s hard to see the ball go sailing for the fence and think you’ve hit a home run, only to hear the sound of it hitting the center fielder’s mitt at the warning track. Yep, it was just another long, fly ball.  

I’m all right. I may be standing atop the smoking ruins of my hopes, but I’m still standing. And can I say that I’m actually kind of proud of myself? Weird, huh? Just two short years ago, I started this blog, barely able to publicly admit that I was a writer. I used to get physically ill when I so much as thought about writing a query letter. Why? Because I feared what would happen if I failed. What if I worked my heart out on something and it went down in flames?

Well, that’s where I am.

And you know what? It’s really not as bad as I thought it would be. So if you’re reading this and you’re in the same boat, seriously, it’s OK. Failure is just a step in the process. The Monday after I heard the final nail being banged into the coffin for my manuscript, I sat down at my desk and worked just like any other day. I'm writing something new that I’m excited about, and I’ll keep at it. What else can you do?

So there we have it. 2011 has left me older, wiser, and frankly, somewhat appalled, but I’m still feeling feisty.  

Just wait 'til next year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mistaken Wisdom

This is a wee bit embarrassing, but such is the stuff of blog posts, right? 

So here’s the story.

At my kids’ school they’ve started this program to increase good citizenship and civic awareness. They’re encouraging kids to be more respectful and mindful of their behavior. You know, basically to have good manners and be polite to their fellow students and teachers. I have to say, it’s worked to some extent because I’ve noticed, for example, some kids actually holding the door for the kids behind them as they enter the school in the morning. This is something my kids could use help with because I tell you, I could be climbing the steps of Mt. Doom with Frodo Baggins on my back, trying to save the dang world from the forces of ultimate evil, and my kids would still walk ahead of me and let the door slam in my face as we went inside. 
"Uh, kids, could you hold the door for me, please?"

So a couple weeks back, as part of this civic awareness program, they put up a motivational poster or two in the school lobby. The one that caught my eye said this:

Your attitude determines your attitude.

The first time I read it, I was like, whuh? Your attitude determines your attitude? And then I thought about it, and I thought, hey, yeah, that’s kind of true, isn’t it? I mean, we don’t have control over our circumstances all the time, but we do have control over how we approach things. People often think their attitudes fall into that category of “things I can’t help,” but they don’t. Attitudes are absolutely adjustable. I mean, your attitude may be the only thing that you do have a choice about.

Huh. That’s kind of a cool idea. And definitely a good message for kids, right? To let them know, hey, you have more power than you think you do.

The past month I’ve been thinking about this a lot because, for reasons I can’t go into, I’ve pretty much needed to recharge my positive attitude on an hourly basis. I swear, if I thought it might have helped, I’d have hooked myself up to the car battery with jumper cables by now. But tough as it’s been, I’ve muddled through, occasionally thinking about that banner. 

My attitude will determine my attitude, I told myself. Yes, indeedy. 

OK, so here’s where this delightful, inspirational tale would end except that this past Monday evening, I looked at the banner again for the umpteenth time, and I realized that what it actually says is, “Your attitude determines your aLtitude.”


ALTITUDE. Not attitude.

I wondered why there was a picture of a hot air balloon on there. I guess that banner is saying that your attitude will determine how far you go in life. Something like that?

OK, well, duh. Guess I got that wrong, but whatever. I think I like my erroneous interpretation better. It helped me get through the past few weeks even if I was mistaken about the message. 

Additionally and obviously, it may be time for me to investigate the getting of glasses.

How’s your attitude this week?