I used to get C's in 6th grade English class for writing too much. Guess the jokes on that teacher because not only am I the author of two published books, but I also have two short stories in anthologies, with a third and fourth on their way and a few children's books in the works.
My mother used to get phone calls from my middle school advanced art program about how I never followed the instructions. Well, jokes on them because now I am the illustrator of about eleven children's books, four of which are already published, and at my last event I sold two art prints.
Everybody knows JK Rowling's amazing story. How many rejection letters? How many times did Walt Disney's business go under before Mickey Mouse? What's that quote from Edison? "I didn't fail. I just found 2,000 ways how not to make a lightbulb."
Barbara Lieberman was told in first grade that she should never pick up a pencil to draw again. So, she didn't until she was an adult. Not only has she returned to painting miniature canvases, which she originally did as part of a miniature business with her father in the 80's, but she is also co-illustrating our upcoming My Mom is in a Wheelchair.
I leave you with these thoughts:
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts"- Winston Churchill
"You fail if only you stop writing"- Ray Bradbury
But also remember, Jackson Pollock stood in his own paintings. Vonnegut would sometimes write himself into his own books. Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss made up words.
Forget what they taught you in Kindergarten. My mom always said, "You don't have to color inside the lines." And no matter what anyone tells you, no matter if that voice inside you is telling you that you got it wrong, every time you see a mistake or are marked down, remember it took even the greats more than one try and never quit.
Earnest Hemingway said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
When I write, I truly write. There’s not only an investment in the characters and storylines. It is pouring heart and soul. It is knocking down the barriers of the everyday, exposing and vulnerable and naked on a blank page.
It is said that if there is no tears in the writer there will be no tears in the reader. From what I know of books like Chip Davis’s Angel’s Song in The Playlist Anthology and Barbara Lieberman’s To Miss The Stars (which comes packaged with tissues, by the way), there is truth in that saying.
Each week I revisit my manuscripts to participate in the local twitter event, 1lineWed, where writers share lines from their work based on a weekly theme. This week’s theme is Chaos and in Society's Foundlings, which was published two years ago, I came across this one line, “There’s a comfort in what you’re accustomed to. Chaos becomes its own sort of peace.” It amazed me how a simple line could still stir those same feelings in me as when I first picked up the pencil to write them.
2015 was a chaotic year, if not for external reasons, then for internal. In the years following the outward became its own sort of chaos. Now, I am in a much better place in both ways.
We have terms we use in my family for PTSD moments. Those little triggers that send you back to moments your body can’t seem to forget no matter how much your mind wants to. Those responses so ingrained in the brain, your breath catches, your heart seizes, the pain from that moment mere months or years ago is just as fresh and present now as it was then. But, revisiting this honest and sometimes brutal text that I created is different.
It’s as bittersweet as the story itself. I’m better. My world is better. The characters will forever remain frozen in that moment, in those conflicts, though. I have moved on and in a way, while there is hope on that final page, it is a final page. It is a scar, that indelible reminder, but it’s the scars that let the light shine through.
Gathering dust in the depths of my mind, random thoughts dusted off and put out there for the world to see...