Friday, October 12, 2007

Reinventing, Part 2—The Power of Inertia

Okay, I promised a few more jots about the “reinventing” I’ve been doing with my writing career, with the perception of my writing versus my music, et al. So here’s part two, for what it’s worth. I mentioned before that I despise the term “talented amateur.” Basically, I’ve always believed that if you were truly that talented, you’d be a pro at the item in question. Someone would see that talent, pick it up, and reward you for it. Turns out that isn’t quite right. You see, all my life I firmly believed my son was going to play major league baseball. This is a kid who could stand up and hit a wiffle ball off a wiffle bat at 18 months. (And no, I am not making this up. ) At 4, he was tossing a ball in the air and hitting it, all the time chattering away doing play by play. At 10, he was throwing close to 70 miles per hour. At 12, he was playing international baseball. At 14, he pitched a no-hitter to win a community baseball championship. According to his bio, he still holds a record in Illinois High School baseball. He was given a partial scholarship at Michigan on the strength of one downstate playoff game. He was Big Ten Player of the Week not once but twice in his senior year at Michigan. All this from a kid who’s five-seven in really long spikes. (!) But come the 2005 draft, he wasn’t considered to be even among the top 1500 high school/college baseball players available. Seven of his teammates got drafted from Michigan that year. Matt didn’t. It absolutely devastated his mom. And shot my belief system about “rewarding talent and hard work” pretty much to hell. Yeah, I know. Get over it. :-) But I would say, honestly, that that’s easier said than done. I think that monumental disappointment shattered something basic, a deep belief I had in the fundamental fairness of things. Added to this pain the stress of trying to relocate the family to Indiana, selling the Illinois house, getting a place to live before buying a house here... I got hit pretty hard. Hard work and logistical scrambling are one thing; hard work and scrambling, while you’re hurting at the same time, is way harder to deal with. What it ends up doing is sapping your energy reserves and seriously depleting your resiliency. Which means that if you then start getting rejected on writing fronts as well… You can see the end coming here, I’m sure. But that end snuck up on me before I even knew it was happening. Truth to tell, this nastiness was building way before what happened with Matt ever occurred; it was building probably five to seven years before that, when I started piling on additional responsibilities of taking care of an aging mom, fighting health care battles, coming close to losing my house…then finally going through my mom’s passing and all the accompanying stuff that went with that. By the time I even got to the draft fiasco, I was already walking wounded, and wounded way worse than I suspected. In fact, I thought I had gone through a temporary “bad patch” but was coming out of it: I even managed to speak several times between 2003 and 2005 on “coming out of burnout.” Joke was on me, I guess. Because I kept telling myself I was coming out…only I wasn’t. I was having fits and starts. I was writing a good chapter or a good scene here or there, but I was stalling out almost immediately afterward. The writing was not bad, serviceable, adequate…but not brilliant, either. Not inspired. Not on fire. Not what I’m truly capable of when all the layers are peeled away and I’m on the edge. And consequently, not surprisingly, not picked up by agents or editors, either. So the time has come to really, truly pull myself out of this quagmire. But how to do it, when I thought I was out of it already? How will I know when it happens for sure? I have two possible answers to this, and I’ll elaborate on those soon. Watch this space! Thoughts?



Deb said...

I trust & sincerely hope you are not blaming yourself for not recognizing this paradigm at the time it happened.

To quote the amazing Marie Killilea: "Now is all that is presently profitable."

I submit, too, that it's not your job to pull yourself out of this. It's your job, maybe, to 'be still and know.'

You know God loves you. You know you have the talent. You know all kinds of cool things, some of which I can barely, dimly sense. So take this recharging time, wallow in it, enjoy it...

That's my spin on a Friday night after a day from the Pit at work, anyway.

Donna Alice said...

I agree with Deb and I'm AMAZED that someone else can quote Marie Killilea. I love her books!

Sometimes things happen in life and we get hit hard and knocked down. I think it's good that we can get back up and keep on keeping on.

If it's worth anything, I have learned a lot by reading this blog. I've told my friends who sometimes will read something (but they never comment--even on my blog so it's not a personal thing :))

I read something cool the other day. It said that just because we can't see things happening when we pray, we shouldn't give up. Maybe the whole spiritual realm is breaking up and coming together to move all those mountains in our way. If we give up, it's over. If we keep on, me might be seconds away from a major breakthrough in our lives.

I'm hoping anyway. . . .