I am struck with the FEARS this morning.
What are the FEARS? Well, I suppose they are different for all of us. They are the waking in the night. The dread. The worries. The crushing feeling of… failing that overcomes us in the dark. For me, it is usually connected to work – to THE work – to writing.
The Fears come to remind me that… I am not working hard enough. That what I’m working on isn’t any good. That what I’m working on is not… “worthy”. Worthy of what? Well now, who the hell knows? These are the Fears. They don’t have to make sense.
This bout has obviously been brought on by my absence from the pages of the NIP over the Holidays. I get that. I let my work … slide to the side… and the Dreaded Fears are here to greet me. I also know that the email chat yesterday with a fellow writer about “promotion” and the news of a friend of a friend who has been dropped by her publisher in mid-career for no understandable reason have added to the cloud of doooooom circling me as I slept.
The email chat was with a friend who has just had his first book published and is in that sore state of…. SILENCE on the reviewing front. Wondering “how does one get a review in the Globe and Mail or the New York Times?” My heart aches for him. And… I’ve no advice to offer at all. I have no idea how to “get a book reviewed.” The conversation has thrown me back to memories of the promotion I did when Mostly Happy came out. The fun and fabulous book tour, and the…. Absolute Exhaustion that set in afterwards. I had a great time on the road, seeing friends, reading in great bookstores, bars, people’s homes. I sold some books. I did some Morning Television in a few cities, I was interviewed a few times. I did everything I could to help launch Bean into the world. And then I .. Well.. I fell down for a few weeks (or was it months?). Exhausted by it all. I never did land an interview with Jian or Strombo, and Oprah’s people did not call. Not…. YET anyhow. Ha.
I did win some awards for the book. And, best of all, I still hear from people who love the book. That helps a LOT. And I really do think that this sort of response should be … ENOUGH… but yesterday’s conversation about promotion of books revealed that there is still a bit of an… ache inside my heart. The SILENCE that greets the release of our long worked on masterpiece can be such a heartache. Was for me, anyhow.
And then to hear the story of a mid-list writer…. Good sales… Some awards… Good critical reviews… A strong presence online (blogs, social media, all the things we are supposed to do these days)… being unceremoniously cut free from her publisher and having the feeling that no one else will ever pick her up and that if she wants to continue publishing she will have to… begin again…. Well… It can take the wind out of one’s sails, non?
So… I know where the FEARS came from this morning.
I also know that I don’t want to end a year with them and I sure as hell don’t want to begin 2013 in a FUNK. That simply will not do. It’s not on. You hear me?
I sit and think…. “What am I doing? Why am I doing this?”
I sit here and think about the NIP – the book I am currently working on and I wonder what the point is. How will I ever find a publisher and/or an Agent? How will I ever find the energy necessary to promote another book? How will I….. I close my eyes and bring the characters to mind. They are nervous. They think I am about to abandon them. The boy who doesn’t speak steps forward and takes my hand. The bells begin to ring and the magpie lands on my shoulder. The sheriff steps forward, and his wife. The townsfolk emerge from the dimness. The elders smile. The girl takes my other hand and we all stand together. We will be fine. We are making a world. This is our job right now – not worrying about the future. First we need to make the world. We need to build Sanctuary. The rest… We will deal with the rest of it when the time comes.
We are reaching for something. Sometimes I don’t even know what it is. I want to write something… outstanding, I suppose. Something…incredible. Something… world-changing. Or at least …fun. Oh how I long to write something fun and entertaining that will also make you cry. Because crying is good and laughing is… transcendent.
These FEARS… when they come, strike me dumb and numb. They strike me … silent.
And that is no way to begin a new year.
No way at all.
This is not a morning for the FEARS. I have a story to work on. The story of Izzy and Dunny, Hank and Minna and the town of Asiloverde. I have a novel in progress that we call Sanctuary and I need to get the hell back to work on it.
And, for the dark nights ahead, I’ve the company of a few good storytellers. Linda Spalding is here with her newest gem, The Purchase. And my old friend, Ursula K Le Guin, has just come in the door with her Tales from Earthsea. I have Threefold to read from my fellow 3day Novel cohort B.M.L. Gordon and shelves and shelves of other treasures to be plundered.
Let us all gather by the fire and tell each other stories. Stories that will push back the dark and the Dreads.
Spring is coming.
May you find your own way to fight back the Fears.
I thank you so much for your presence here as I bumble along the road of life. And I offer up a Loving Kindness Meditation to carry us all into the new year.
May we be happy.
May we be safe from inner and outer harm.
May we be content with our selves just as we are.
May our hearts be open.
Be well, friends.
Go easy -p