Friday, October 16, 2009

Depend on your own judgment

Our dependency makes slaves out of us, especially if
this dependency is a dependency of our self-esteem.
If you need encouragement, praise, pats on the back
from everybody, then you make everybody your judge.
-- Fritz Perls

I'm a sucker for a good quote. I rarely remember them, but when I read them I have this 'ah-ha' moment. It is the chicken-brain syndrome. Each quote is like a seed and each one seems new and profound and I peck dilligently at it until I spy the next one and rush to it as if it were something new and delicious.

Although I don't remember quotes, they often act as catalysts to move me toward something better. Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed. The universe conspires against us. Rejection comes from every direction. I feel invisible, nobody notices. Nobody cares. Days like these happen far too often, but I take heart in them because there is a balance in the universe as well as conspiracy. And just as awful as some days are -- others come along to balance it out. Instead of quotes, I've squirreled away a few memories of those exceptional days to keep me going. Much to my surprise many of them involve writing.

My first sale: I have this mind's snapshot of me dancing on the bed with my sleepy husband (who worked the night shift) gaping at me as I waved my first ever pay check for writing.

My first writing job: Another snapshot. This time of a paper flying out of the selectric typewriter and floating out into the newsroom after my timed writing test. It was the first time I had used a typewriter in several years. I forgot about the paper. I particularly liked the woman's face who was giving the typing test as she snatched up the page full of typing. I got the job. In a newsroom.

My first above the fold story
My first feature
My first AP award
My first $1.50 a word sale
My first anthology publication
My first acknowledgment in someone else's book
My first book review published on the back of someone else's book

And then there are the days when the words come together and no one sees or shares that moment. But I know. I KNOW how life affirming those moments are when you struggle to arrange the words, say in words what is swirling around inside of you. Find a way to communicate so others get it, really get it!

Writing has its perks -- not just in dollars and cents. But there is something especially rewarding to know that you've written something that someone else wants to purchase and share with their esteemed readers. Now, that's a good day. One to tuck into your memory bank to balance out that rejection letter coming your way.

If you're writing and sending out your work, there are bound to be rejections. Thank goodness for the balance in our universe!

But notice the photo accompanying these words -- a teeter totter requires two people or at least more than one. Writing may seem like a solitary business, but like the poet says, "No man is an island...." We need to be part of a community that will share our highs and lows and help us find our balance. A community that will make us think and grow. Laugh and groan. Share and mentor.

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