Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Life...and other incomprehensible puzzles
“My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." – Forrest Gump
Truer words have never been spoken.
My life—well at least my writing life—is very much like a box of assorted chocolates. Most days, it’s the chocolate-covered nutty ones that are full of the ups and downs of writing: no character motivation, plot holes, never ending chapters going nowhere. Some days are the smooth, soft caramel ones where the writing flows free and easy and nothing’s wrong with the world, and still others are the really nasty ones I liken to cherry cordials—gross, oozing with questionable internals with a stale cherry staring back at you that represent the Big Dark Moment you’ve written your characters into but can’t find a way to get them out.
“My father used to say that if we ever had the money you have, we would eat steak and ice cream three times everyday!” -- Pollyanna Whittier from Pollyanna
Wouldn’t that be nice? As writers, I think we’re consumed at the beginning, about making money—the big bucks—and when we sign that first contract, optimism runs rampant. “I’ve written a book and everyone will love it and come running to my door to offer me fame and fortune.” It’s only after that first, fourth, twentieth book is released that we take a step back and face up to reality, who’s been standing in the corner rolling his eyes. The money might be there, but unless you’re Nora Roberts or J.K. Rowling, writers aren’t exactly buried in piles of it. And that’s okay—most days—because writers have found their passion in life. Writing, and really, that’s priceless. Most days…
“The start is not nearly as important as the finish.” -- Chef Didier in the Last Holiday
This is my favorite quote of recent time. Seems like every time I’ve hit the skids with my writing, this movie comes on and Queen Latifah’s jamming in the hotel kitchen with the chef and he tells her character this. Then I pull up my big girl panties and get over whatever it is that’s cuffed me on the chin. It’s how we finish—in writing, in relationships, in life. How do we want to be remembered as a writer? By a figure in a bank account or by the thought provoking, sweet, sensual, unique stories that we weave to entertain others? I’d rather write a book that someone will read more than once because it’s a favorite.
Ask me in twenty years how that’s going LOL
And my all time go to quote:
“All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
Maybe I’ve got Disney on the brain because I’m going on vacation to the House of Mouse in under two weeks, but seriously, Walt Disney has been a role model since I had to do a book report on him in the fifth grade. Ironically, that’s when I caught the writing bug…but I digress.
Being a published author has been my dream (besides being a cake decorator, but all the cakes I make lean or crumble—long story) And finally, blathering on and on in notebooks and on scraps of paper begin to make sense.
There was a quote from Sister Act 2 that I really wanted to find for today’s blog, but I couldn’t and I should know it by heart since I’ve seen it so many times, but I’m tired right now and I wish I could remember the book title and author. Anyway, it’s paraphrased here:
Sister Mary Clarence gives her student Rita a book and tells her to read it and says “This guy’s real good. He knows a thing or two about life. If you wake up in the morning and the only thing you can think about is singing, you’re destined to become a singer.”
That’s how I feel about writing. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up (besides from my hubby) and it’s the last thing I think about before I go to sleep at night (besides my hubby). Writing’s my life. Good, bad, or indifferent, it’s me. I pour out a little piece of my soul into my current project.
This week has been excellent--or at least way better than last week. Sure, it started out with a mediocre review. I bitched to my girlfriends about it and moved on. Then this weekend, I fell flat on my writing face as doubts stacked up to the ceiling because I couldn’t get a new novel started. Once again, my girlfriends swooped in, smacked me around, and told me to pretty much get over it, I was a good writer. I believe them. I believe in my work. I believe my husband, God love him, when he says, “why do you let these things get to you?” I can’t help it. Remember that tiny piece of the soul in the writing? Yup, that’s why writers feel so deeply. We can’t help it.
Today, a publisher requested a partial of one of my novels and another one…well, I can’t really say much about that one yet until it's been confirmed...
My point is, once you find the one thing you believe in with your whole heart in life: cooking, writing, singing, cement mixing, toilet plunging, whatever—once you find that passion, do everything in your power to pursue it. Knock on a few doors, okay pound on them until someone will listen and give you advice. Do everything you can to live that dream, make it yours, put your stamp on the world. The payoff may not be in obscene amounts of cold, hard cash, but in the end, when someone at the grocery, hair salon, and doctor’s office asks: “What do you do for a living?”
You can proudly say, “I’m an author.”
Need I say more?
Until next week, write on.