Friday, June 29, 2012

the careful consideration to succeed at failure

the only thing which garners more attention than the child genius is the failed prodigy...

oh, i don't know if it was the praise i received from my seventh grade teacher or the actual joy of composing a poem which started me on this most undesirous path towards becoming a writer.  whichever it was, i now despise both of them equally.

last weekend scott and i went to the funeral of his grandmother, a woman who had seen most of her life from a single spot in the world.  during the wake or maybe afterwards when we gathered as a family and had frozen yogurt with toppings, one of my nephews asked me what i wanted to be when i grew up.

my head was immediately consumed in a vortex of denial and insecurity.  it's a question i know i have avoided asking because it's a trap filled with guilt and regret. it's the kind of thing one should shy away from like saying 'if i were king, things would be like this...'

so i went to my standard answer.

'an astronaut'

but i also wanted to be a doctor, and i'm pretty sure actor was in there as well.  the usual cowboy, ambulance driver and hermit combination lurks around in my head.  hunter, warrior and housewife were never even considerations.  (though i do flirt with the image of cleaning the house in a tunic and viking helmet...

and it doesn't matter, no one ever asks why i didn't do it because EVERYONE grew up with their unattainable goals...

but i was lying, you know...

what i really wanted to be, what i flirtatiously call myself now, is a writer.  i might as well chosen junkie, or drunkard, or tart...(all of which i have successfully fulfilled as a role in my life)

i don't say anything because the next thing that rips from their mouth is a desire to have explained...'what do you write?'


what do i write?

'mostly nonsense.  stuff that barely makes sense to me. and nothing you'd understand or relate too.'

another lie.

'mostly i don't write because i have this uncontrollable desire to avoid facing the fact that i can't.'



this past weekend i was sitting on the porch doing some reading and i came across an article about a writer and her failure to get her book published.  it's rare that someone's story speaks to me (and the irony of saying this in a blog recording my story is quite apparent) but it was exactly what i've been thinking about my own novel.

i didn't write it because i had a great story to tell. i wrote it because i wanted another notch on my belt, to climb another rung on an invisible ladder.  i wanted to place my foot on the meager and invisible step towards idolation and praise.  that's why i didn't love the characters or feel passion for the book. 

yeah, that's why...

so i posted that article on my facebook page as a sort of backhanded apology to all those people who had been rooting for me and as a way of saying...

'don't ask me about my book again.'


later that night i received another rejection letter from a publisher.  the concept of the novel was very intriguing but it lacked enough conflict and he wasn't interested in darlene's story.  he encouraged me to work on several points and continue submitting my work as he saw promise in my writing.

cue the image of a writer eating his words...and how apt is that?
very well then...what did i want to be when i grew up?

writer, astronaut, explorer, geologist, warrior, die hausfrau...

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