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.


Rebecca Royce said...

Don't worry about the bad review. It was an awesome week and I'm so proud of you.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks! I'm not worried about it. Not even on my radar anymore :-)

Anonymous said...

Great post Sandra...congrats on the partial and the other, whatever it may turn out to be...i love your writing!


Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Carrie! It's always nice to hear that someone besides me likes what I wrote :-)

Christi Barth said...

Hmmm - I want to solve your cake problems, since you've got the writing under control. Could your oven be on a slant, because they shouldn't come out crooked....and frosting can fix/cover a myriad of issues!

Sandra Sookoo said...

LOL Christi! Trust me when I tell you the only kind of cakes I can do are in a sheet pan. Layer cakes lean like the Tower of Pisa, craters appear, the top layer peels back like sod when I try to frost. And if I'm lucky enough to build a cake intact and iced, decorating said cake is a huge problem, but generally it never reaches that stage. Last Easter, I tried to make a bunny shaped cake with my hubby and well, it was a pile of crumbs...

Fran Lee Romance said...

Hey, girl! A pile of crumbs can be mixed into vanilla ice cream and it tastes lucious! As for mediocre reviews, that's only one person's opinion. If your books sell decently, that's more of a review that counts, right?

Annie Nicholas said...

Keep up the good work, Sandra!

Barbara J. Hancock said...

You hit the nail on the head with this one, Sandra. It isn't about reviews or money or fame. It's about the story and that moment when you finally reach the point when you can proclaim to the world that you're a storyteller. Sweet bliss!

Tonya Kappes said...

Funny, I have never written for the money. I write b/c I have to or I will explode. All I really want is to see my novels in print, on that book shelf at B and N or Borders-what have you.
I have always said I have a job that helps pay the bills and the job that keeps me sane. Really? Writing keeps me sane, even the ups and downs? HECK YEAH! LOVE IT!

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Fran & Annie :-)

Thanks Barbara. I just hope I'm getting my name out there LOL

And Tonya, I write because I love it, but making a tidy sum on the side will be a nice after effect, and side I don't currently have a day job, it would be helpful ;-)

I aspire to print as well, but I have a feeling it's years off so I'm happy with what I have now :-)

Thanks for dropping by.

J Hali said...

This is a GREAT post! I'm feeling all gooey inside. Dang did you say it all, and you said it only as wonderful as YOU could. WTG.

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thanks for a wonderful blog post.
That's my goal/dream also, to say, I am an author. Author = published. Writer = unpublished.
All the best,

Debra McGill said...

What a wonderful blog post! Great quotes, even the paraphrased one (and I should know that one too!) I have preached this same theme to kids - my own daughter and other kids. Find your passion and then become the best darn (fill in the blank) you can be.

I'm proud to be a writer, and in the company of a great writer like you!

Debra Key Newhouse

Jessa Slade said...

> gross, oozing with questionable internals

I just wrote this scene!!! Thanks for the reminder that it's all about the story.

Kathye Quick said...

Great post. Made me think even at 3am. Love Sister Mary Clarence, Very profound in her own way.

Some reviewers have no taste.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks everyone for dropping by!