Posts Tagged ‘life lessons’

Lately I have had rejections on my mind. There is no particular reason for it, no painful angst or sting of a recent rejection fueling it. Just a random thought that popped into, and lodged, in my quirky mind. Perhaps it’s because my mind has been especially creative of late, and this is simply one more creative seed to sprout.


I happened to unearth some rather famous writers who also suffered the rejection dejection syndrome before they became famous to the rest of us. Actually, it was in the latest Writer’s Digest magazine and I found it an interesting read.

Stephen King, the King of Horror writing, tossed his early draft for Carrie into the trash. From 1971 to 1973, he wrote he was “vulnerable, the the vivid dreams and ambitions of childhood seem to pale in the harsh sunlight of what we call the real world.”. His wife pulled Carrie from the trash and the novel went on to be rejected by 30 publishers. Eventually he was offered an advance of $2,500 by Doubleday. The paperback rights went to Signet Books for $400,000.


Steve Berry. He’s a number 1 international best selling author of 16 thrillers. He said “From the day I wrote my first word to the day I sold my first word was a span of 12 years.” In that time he completed eight manuscripts. He submitted five of them, and was rejected 85 times. It was the 86th attempt that “things happened for me.”

Judy Blume–who hasn’t read her children’s stories either as a child or to our children? She writes: “For two years, I received nothing but rejections. One magazine, Highlights for Children, sent a form letter with a list of possible rejections. ‘Does not win in competition with others’ was always checked off on mine. I still can’t look at a copy of Highlights without wincing. I would go to sleep at night feeling that I’d never be published. But I’d wake up in the morning convinced I would be.”


Saul Bellow (admittedly I’d never heard of him. Turns out he won the Pulitzer Prize. the Nobel Prize, and the National Medal of Arts. I’m impressed.) He writes, “I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgement and to say in his heart of hearts, “To hell with you.'”

Brad Meltzer, bestselling writer and children’s book author. On his website, he had a Q & A. The question was: How do you handle rejections from publishers? His answer was: “I gave their email addresses to my mother. You don’t  know pain until you’ve met Teri Meltzer. Fear it.”


Kathryn Stockett, she’s the lady who wrote that incredible bestseller, The Help. She states: “After rejection No. 40, I started lying to my friends about what I did on the weekends. They were amazed by how many times a person could repaint her apartment. The truth was, I was embarrassed for my friends and family to know I was still working on the same story, the one nobody apparently wanted to read.”

Wow, there are some heavy weight writers, talking plainly about their pain, embarrassment, and trials before the big one was discovered. Before their careers took off. And before they were known. So what can I say of my own trail of rejection?

Like most every other writer out there, I can wallpaper a house with my collected rejection slips. In the early days, they were well deserved. I was submitting before I was ready, a lesson I had to learn. Once they became less form letter, and started having encouraging little notes added to the margins, I knew I was on the right track. That still took years upon years. I lost count of exactly how many– twenty something. I finally started placing articles with magazines and devotionals. It gave me credibility with publishers, by-lines to add weight to my bio, and validity to my soul. Ah, sweet validity!

Finally I landed a contract for my first novel, a contemporary romance with paranormal and mystery elements. I learned so much with that book and that publisher. I followed it up with five more novels, two anthology inclusions, a novella, and numerous articles over a whirlwind four years. And two more publishing houses.


And I still get rejections. Despite all that, I still feel the sting of being turned down. I have a couple finished manuscripts, that don’t fit the genre of either publisher, so I am looking around for an agent that does handle them. I am going to have to add on a room to my house so I have somewhere to hang all the new rejection slips I am accumulating. Yet like the famed authors who shared their heartache, I will dream of when these literary babies find a home and become shared with the rest of the world. To me, that is what we write for…to share our stories with the world.


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A thought on how art, my world and writing all lately reflect reality, blending them into a therapeutic cocktail. Much like some artists paint or sculpt to find their inner self or new direction, oftentimes so do writers.

directions sign

On a personal front, I feel as though I’ve been living two lives for a while.

On one hand, I am blessed beyond imagination, surrounded by wholesome goodness, sweet success and pleasant pastimes. I can sit at my desk and listen to the happy chatter of my pet parrot, watch the songbirds merrily gathering at the feeders and know what tranquility feels like. I have my home, my pets, a growing writing career and a lovely spot in the region to plant my roots. I have people in my life; special and dear, appreciated, liked and treasured. I have coffee and chocolate. God has been so good and gracious to me.

girl at brook writing

But on the other hand, the one with different fingers, I can only describe the feeling as slowly sinking in the quagmire of a toxic pit. Wow, what a sudden change. Hence the emotion of having dual lives. And I pass as easily from one to the other as easily as a person can cross from one room to the next. However, my dual life is not the object of this post, rather my observation of it.

Recently I realized I also gave a character in a current Work In Progress a double life, though slightly different circumstances and situation. She had left one life for a new one, never fully leaving the old one behind. Ultimately, because this is fiction and we need conflict, her two lives can no longer compete and she must make a choice. While I suspect this was unintentional, I now see how much tension it creates for the story.

I see no resolution like that in my situation(s). I suspect they can continue on as thus far indefinitely. Back to that other hand with the different fingers.melting time

Interestingly, I have written this method before. I used it as a coping strategy. During a period of time when I was working through some health issues, I scribbled a short story. I took a character, the heroine, and plagued her with health concerns that resembled mine. And because it was fiction, I gave her the conflict of pending love to compete with her burden. Which would win out? The result is a ten thousand word story that I just this month signed the publication contract for. It’s called ‘Glimpse Eternity’.

In another Work in Progress, one I’ve been chipping away at for over a year now, I feature the heroine who has a sibling. The relationship they share closely mirrors the relationship between my sibling and I. Sublime message or unconscious thought? Art or life?

And I will make a guess that somewhere down the literary road, I will do this again. Something will pull that trigger and art will imitate life. I will write a story based on reality. Health challenges, family dynamics, dual lives, we can only guess at what will be next.

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February is the shortest month of the year. For me, this year’s February has been fraught with challenges and quandaries worthy of filling the longest season. Normally the first two weeks of April is historically the traditional time of great dread for me, when it seems the whole year’s worth of misfortune pours itself out over my head. This year, however, we seem to be getting a head start–several weeks early.

On the ninth, I fell, not in a glamorous fashion on the ice like some folks. I was simply coming home from work, was tired and forgot to pick up my feet. Or something like that. The good news is nothing broke in the fall, but it sure rocked my world. I was stunned for several moments before I could slowly–and oh so gingerly–climb to my feet. The next day I discovered a rash on my knee, that slowly turned a rainbow of bruising colors ever since. Now, 2 1/2 weeks later, it’s still an irritating dry patch of red. My hands and shoulder were also injured in the fall, excruciating at first, and slowly easing up as the month ends. While the swelling has gone down, the pain continues to remind me.

In addition, about three weeks ago, just before the graceful fall, my hot water stopped running. Due to the below freezing temperatures, I kind of assumed it was a frozen line and would thaw out soon enough. Well, I’ve been boiling water in my copper tea kettle, bird bathing using my ceramic bowl & pitcher set and generally roughing it ever since.

bowl abd pitcher

I did go to a friend’s house a couple of times for hot showers and do a load of laundry when the pioneer woman mentality ran thin or I ran out of work clothes. I kept plastic jugs and refilled them at work and at my friend’s house.

In the meantime, our temperatures have climbed well into the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and still no return of my hot water Finally on the 22nd, I went out to check on the situation. I was greeted with at least 6-8 inches of standing water in the crawl space. This was not good.

Monday the 23rd I contacted the company that services the home warranty I took out when I bought the house. They assured me they’d take care of this and hook me up with a great technician. Well, they did that much. To take a long week of frustration and impatience and condense it down, it happened like this: Yesterday a nice gentleman from a company specializing in water damage arrived. He drained all the gallons of standing water out, so the crawl space was pretty much dry for the plumber who came this morning. Over eight hours later this poor soul had more or less replaced most the piping under the house. Shout outs to both these guys and their companies.

I did learn, however, that neither my home warranty nor house insurance will cover nor reimburse any of my expenses. So thank goodness I had the money available on the plastic, unfortunately, they are almost maxed out now. But I have hot water once again and no fishing hole in my crawl space.

And apparently February wants to keep reminding me we are evidently in early training for April. As I was running a fast errand this morning, the check engine light come on the dashboard of my Jeep.

check engine


So tomorrow morning I have an appointment for that next.

If this keeps up, you won’t see me in April, I’ll be hibernating beneath a big rock!

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turn the page or close the book

Sometimes those choices are not so clear. I had thought I was closing one book, turns out I am merely turning the page for now.  The house I planned to buy will not work out, so the great search continues, much like Ahab after his whale (Moby Dick)  In the meantime, I will be content to turn the page instead.

I can turn the page on the calendar in just a few days. I can turn the page on my feelings and emotions as I slowly pack the house and stare at the empty shelves. I can turn the page in my life as the chapter of my time here at this location comes to an end and a new chapter looms ahead. I don’t know exactly when, but it will happen that is good enough for me.

So I have to question, did this chapter end satisfying enough? Well, yes and  no. Further analysis would be required to determine what ratio they measured out to be, but I harbor no regrets for the time spent on this page. I just acknowledge it is time to close the book.

Pages, chapters, books…. what does it all come down to? As a writer, these words take on dual meanings. We think of them metaphorically and literally. When the pages turn in our book–ones we create–are the readers as pleased as we were by the end result? Ditto for metaphoric closures in life situations.  Like mine.

So what do pages of events, chapters of years and books of lives all equal to when compared to pages of scenes, chapters of characters and books of stories?

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Today I went house shopping. I have been doing a lot of the behind the scenes beginner things for a little while now, but today I actually began touring available houses. I feel it is about time to move from my present locale. And I usually follow my feelings. So while I am excited about the prospect and all it entails, I am also a little depressed by it. I had not thought myself ready to leave my cozy home, house hunting is work (as if I am not busy enough already) and moving can be hard on a lot of things. So I feel a real sense of yin and yang in that this is the thing to do, it’s what I had wanted to do but it seems to be happening quicker then I had imagined.

The whole thing sort of reminds me of one of my favorite movies: It’s a Wonderful Life. The one with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed .

wondrrful life movie poster

I could watch this Frank Capra film production over and over at any time of year. To me it’s not just a Christmas story. It’s a story about love and living.

Why? Well because a major part of the show is now resonating within me lately. The Bailey family spends their time at the Savings and Loan Building, providing families with their own house–‘four walls and a roof” as a character phrased it once. The Savings and Loan Building and what it represents is a pivotal part of the movie, as is the developing romance between the main characters, Mary and George.

So now that I am searching for my own four walls and a roof and it’s scary and exciting all at once. Kind of like falling in love can be. In my case, there are all the stages and steps and searching and time. All the questions about things I’ve never considered before. So I am surrounding myself with people who are knowledgeable on the things I don’t know to join me on this journey to home ownership.

With the right mindset, I can find the fun and adventure in this. And I will take a lesson from the movie that no matter what happens, it’s a wonderful life. In this case, my reminder is in the form of a character called George Bailey.

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Today, as part of my virtual blogging efforts, I am over visiting with fellow Soul Mate author, Christine Wall at her blog. She is talking about a weakness of mine…chocolate and Shimmers of Stardust. Check out the link above. There is also some mention of something I have never heard of before…werecougars.

Now I wonder what those could be……

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