The Journey v. the Destination

I got a friendly, helpful note back from an agent this week. While she declined to take me on, she did tell me she found my story line intriguing, however it started off too slow.

Zing! I knew she was right. I moved the manuscript into Scrivener and started re-arranging scenes in Corkboard. Moving the scenes around allowed interesting gaps to develop—gaps that sparkled. As I was rearranging, part of my brain delighted in this freedom and part of it was aghast. “You can’t do that!” it said, “no one will look at it if you do that.” Well, let’s  be honest, no one is really looking at it yet anyway, as far as I know. And besides, at 56 years old, at least two thirds of my life is over, so what is there to be afraid of? I’ve already experienced rejection and lived through it. I’ve already taken chances and succeeded or failed—and lived through it.

Fiction writing is a fairly new skill for me and I’m learning the craft daily. Even when I think I’ve written something lovely and amazing that really ought to win the National Book Award, or even better, a MacArthur grant, I remember how it was when I first started making baskets. I loved them too—those first ones—every crooked, sad, little lump of them. Then I got more polished and more polished still. And when I looked back at the first ones, I liked their gallantry, but let’s face it, they weren’t salable.

I think the same thing will happen with my writing. I am persistent. My stories will get more and more polished and one day my turn will come and I’ll get what I think I most want right now—a published book.

Even as I think this, though, I remind myself of something that I intuit is true: that the thrill of publication will never equal the satisfaction of the days I have now—of trying, failing, discovering and polishing—in a word, living.

baskets-1

baskets

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6 thoughts on “The Journey v. the Destination

  1. We all need to learn this truth. It took me awhile, but I’m finally realizing how important it is to live in the now, rather than in a possible, but as yet nonexistent future. Thanks for stopping in at The Brass Rag. Come back and see us often. We look forward to hearing from you.

  2. Hey big sister. Just wanted to let you know that I’ve been reading your blog posts since you started. In some ways, I feel like I know you better now than when we were growing up. Aside from the writing, which is fantastic, you share a lot about yourself. Except for the “brownie incident”. I believe it was circa 1974-75. That was just wrong.

  3. Thank you for reading, little brother. I’m sorry I gave you PTSD by eating all the brownies all those years ago. Perhaps if I sent you a box of brownie mix…?

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