Thursday, August 20, 2020

The Last Word on Humility and Truth

Our August holiday on PEI, 2019  

Honestly, the morning flung some serious words at me, so thank goodness it was the day for washing windows. That offered me the time doing mindless physical activity to process the words and their meanings, and how they make me feel.

I follow a writer and painter -- a creator -- named Morgan Harper Nichols. Her words of inspiration and encouragement (in her newly published book) got me through my "season of angst" last fall.  But she posts every day on social media and this morning, I read this: 

Let this be a season of slowing down and revisiting.
What beautiful things can come to life in the waiting. 
Sometimes it's the gritty in-between that helps you focus and see:
Now is the time to eliminate distractions and concentrate 
on what you actually need.
There is no shame if you're not further along. 
You don't have to pretend you have it all together. 
You have been waiting for so long...
You are also learning to be strong -
you are gathering wisdom and you are learning
the lessons you need for the rest of the journey. 

Now, those are words that went straight to my heart.
Then came straight out of my pen. 
I immediately copied those words down to re-read whenever I think I'm not doing enough or accomplishing enough, or even good enough. I mean, "You have been waiting for so long... you are gathering wisdom and you are learning..."

THAT'S how I fell. 

Then I read a blog post by Canadian writer Deryn Collier; she lives and writes in British Columbia. I found her mystery novels a few years ago -- only to discover, as I waited for book three, that her publisher had dropped her. What? So that's what publishing is like. All about the market, not the book or the writer. 
I receive her email newsletter so I've followed her struggles to figure out what to do next, her determination to recreate her work, and be true to herself. 

Her blog post is entitled, "Five Reasons Why I Hate Giving Publishing Advice". 
Two of the five points really stood out for me: 
1) (her #2) Publishing is like musical chairs, and when the music stops, not everyone gets a chair. 
2) (her #5) Traditional publishing may not be the only way. 

Collier wrote, "What makes a book great is the author’s vision, imagination, creativity and willingness to do the work. What makes a book sell is a whole other matter."
That's what I keep running up against. I can do the work; no one wants what I've written. 
I can't help myself -- I have to add, Not yet, anyway. (Ever hopeful. Can't give up.)
Her blog post is one I'll read over and over, and find something new -- encouraging, discouraging, inspiring -- each time, depending on the kind of day I'm having 
But as Collier says, being creative, honouring one's own creative vision, pursuing that vision every day, is what matters most. 

So I've been thinking about the musical chairs idea, and hoping that you don't get just one shot at that game. I'm hoping that musical chairs is played over and over, and one of these times, I'll be the last one sitting when the music stops. 

Best-selling author Cheryl Strayed shared this quote from James Baldwin on her Facebook page this week, and it now sits beneath my monitor so I can see it the whole time I'm working: 

"Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: disciples, love, luck, but above all, endurance." 

Or as my friend, Sarah, always tells me, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." 
Even Dory has words of wisdom for me. 

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