Zestful Blog Post #125
Everybody says, ‘Now’s the hardest time to break in.’ They always say that. Because it’s true; it’s always hard. But here’s the thing, also true: There is unquenchable thirst for great story out there. Humans will never stop wanting, needing, craving, story. That’s the beauty of being a storyteller—whether a camp counselor who wants to send them to bed trembling after the bonfire, or a novelist dreaming of greatness.
I write these words on the eve of meeting with nine aspiring authors in St. Augustine at the Florida Heritage Writers Conference. We’ll meet in the cool kids’ room at the exquisite Markham House on the Flagler College campus. Everybody’s read everybody else’s first ten pages and written critiques. We’ll all discuss the work one at a time, together. I’ll give it everything I’ve got. And we will all learn.
When I was a young girl, I sat next to my mother watching Olympics gymnastics on TV. Stirred, I said, “I’d like to do that!” She said, without even thinking much, “Oh, the chances of making it are so low.”
I meant I’d like to tumble and fly like those girls did. She thought I meant I wanted to be on the Olympics team, stand on the platform and get a medal. She wanted to quash that ambition right away, because so few who try, make it onto the world stage. Why set the kid up for heartbreak? She thought she was doing me a favor. But that’s a terrible way to react to a child’s impulse, or dream. (All loving respect to her memory.)
It’s a fine, but clear, distinction. I never did pursue gymnastics. Just as well, because my body was wrong for it—too spindly, too tall.
But she couldn’t dissuade me from writing, and later from quitting a lucrative corporate job to try to earn a much more meager living from writing. No matter what negativity I got from her, I kept on in some fashion or other, too compelled to give up. Which is really all there is to it. If you’re destined to do it, you’ll keep at it, whatever the externals, whatever the outcome. You have
And that’s beautiful. Let it flower. Open. Audiences await.
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