It's been said (probably just by me) that happiness and compliments don't show you who you are – to truly test your mettle, you need tough times, setbacks and speed bumps. But before you roll your eyes at this seemingly classic 'the poor life of a struggling writer' mentality, I'm talking more about the blocks that are beyond your control.
In other words, how exactly are you supposed to make a tasty summer beverage when those lemons life gave you keep squirting you in the eye? How can you sweeten up news that sour – and, should you even try? Maybe it's a better lesson for us all to slice up that yellow citrus and, sans sugar, give it a big ol' suck.
Because that face? That puckered-lip Renee-Zellweger face? Is pretty much the mask I've been wearing since my agent last week decided (out of the blue) that she no longer wanted to be an agent anymore. And, in doing so, left me dangling with five open-ended submissions to big-name publishers – one so promising it's been dusting my every thought for the past eight weeks – and no direction in which to turn.
Yeah, that's a pretty bitter lemon. But I'm going to be just fine, and here's why:
In college, I was pre-med. It was short-lived and, despite a thoroughly earned B+ in Organic Chemistry, I tweaked my major into the much more interesting forensic anthropology (just like 'Bones') after two years of tedious memorization, pointless labs and slightly-above-average grades in the core subjects that weren't impressing anyone. Bottom line: My college weeded me out – and thank goodness for it. Not everyone is meant to be a doctor.
Similarly, in the world of writing, there are processes in place to weed out writers who just don't have the disposition to cultivate their natural talent (assuming they have it) while entertaining rejections from up, down, sideways and backward. And you know what? Not everyone is meant to be a writer.
But I am.
It took me two and a half years to revise my novel, find that agent-in-the-rough to take a chance on representing the no one from nowhere – all while working full time, writing two other completed novels, raising two kids and getting a hot, delicious, creative meal on the table for Husband and I to enjoy every night.
My determination to become a successful, published author is stronger than that. Though I deserved not even an inkling of this fate -- I can guarantee you that it's not going to be my fate.
So, I'll take those lemon slices, life – and I'll make the most kick-ass drink you've ever had. I'll call it the Zellie Special ... or the Drew Dew ... or the Sundae Surprise. Because it for damned sure isn't going to taste like something made by someone who gave up when she was close enough to smell the freshly published pages of her first novel.
My mettle is stronger than, well, metal (teehee) and to prove it I've broken ground on my fourth novel as of this weekend.
And you can take that right to the lemonade stand.
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