Saturday, August 08, 2015

Cutting the Strings of Success

I've traveled a rough rough creative year. I found out pouring out my soul is not enough for success. That left me leaning against the walls, sobbing (I know, embarrassing but nevertheless true). I ache inside to write something that actually means something to a multitude of people. I still ache for this, but at to this point I don't really know what words will do that.

Publishing work is a tough thing. A writer scrapes down to the bone, and then goes even further, like stripping pieces of your soul and then handing it out. This is a difficult thing to face: a monumental creative effort of mine was like passing out flyers on the corner of some nameless city and, while a few people went into the show, most just tossed the flyers on the ground and moved on.

Very few care. Not an easy answer for an artist. My first reaction was childish. How dare the folks not love my work. How dare they!  There are no gimmicks or tricks in my bag.  I have no pile of money to lean on, no celebrity to tap into. I have to rise up on the merits of my words alone. Blue collar girl here, and few of us really get a chance to say anything. 

There is more to my story. I have integrity. I didn't just slap some stupid and uncomfortable sex on a page. I didn't try to titillate, seduce or toss on some bondage. I went with the stuff that means a lot to me: honesty, humanity, and small town values -- the golden rule, love your neighbors, and be yourself.  Surely this will rise. Surely!

I am really embarrassed right now. Have you ever boasted? I have. I thought for sure I was going to be a player in the writing world. Do you know how painful it is to rejected by an agent because you are just "a midlist author and never are going to be more than that."  To be told by really successful editors that your writing is fantastic but it's not likely to connect. I blindly believed  they were crazy. Then I put the work out there and find out that those voices were not messing with me. They were trying to be helpful. Why did humility have to be such a hard lesson? 

I am pretty sure there must be more truth that no one wants to tell me. They probably think I can't take it, and they are probably right.  I read Charlotte's Web, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Book of Three as a kid and thought surely I will find this magic too. People are going to read my books just like those. Now I am beyond 50 years old, and, guess what? Yet, I am still writing, but I have taken a paring knife and cut the strings to success--this kind of success: the attainment of popularity, profit or both. 

And here I am living the Blue Bird of happiness story. I found the magic of the stories. What I need is the golden rule, to love my neighbor, and to be myself.  I am some pig. I am terrific. I am radiant. I am humble. Love really does take the day and save those I love. And assistant pig farmers find out that that is really what they are and that isn't something to be ashamed of.  Everything shines.

Neighbors, because if you are reading this, you are my neighbors. I hope you find the magic in stories too.  If you want, my book PLUMB CRAZY is on sale on Kindle for 99 cents for my birthday week. I will be back next week with more musing about the creative life.

Here is a doodle for you.

A quote for your pocket.

When I was very young, most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air, or picked up buildings with one arm. They were spectacular and got a lot of attention. But as I grew, my heroes changed, so that now I can honestly say that anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me. Fred Rogers


Vijaya said...

Happy Birthday Molly!!! Oh I remember the old dreams from a decade ago. They're still there. You know what I find is amazing? That you keep writing ... And thank you for that. Your words have touched my heart many times over and I'm a better person for having read them, for knowing you. Salut Molly! Keep at it. Because I know for a fact I'm not the only heart you've touched. God bless you and all your endeavors.

Molly/Cece said...

Thanks, Vijaya! I love my old dreams. They are part of me. Who I am today is more and better and for this I give thanks! It's funny Vijaya you are one of the most influential people in my whole life. Writing has given me the best friends.

On keeping on writing, I will contribute my verse. I will.

Trudi Trueit said...

Thanks for this insightful post, Molly. It's lovely to say we must tell the stories in our hearts regardless of recognition or reward, but the truth is we all want approval. Writers seek an audience. Even though you "ache to write something that means something to a multitude of people," I can say that what you have shared in your weekly posts means a great deal to me. You are a gifted teacher, my friend; yet another profession where glory is not always bestowed on those who deserve it.

As for the writing career, keep keepin' on, because the future has yet to be written and yours could hold more than you ever imagined possible.

And happy birthday!!

Me said...

Molly, as always, your post is inspiring. I especially identify with that stripping-parts-of-your-soul-and-hanging-it-out part. I know someday, someone will read me, but I know they've already read you. Once our words go out, they are out there forever. One day those words will strike home with just the right person and make a real difference, but we may never know when or how. So get those words out there. They do make a difference. And keep up the doodling - I love it.

Molly/Cece said...

Hi Trudi! I agree approval is wonderful. Such a precious gift. I mean who doesn't want to be called: "Worthy!" I am glad that my words have helped. Inspiring others is certainly one of my heart things. I will keep keeping on and see what the future holds.

Molly/Cece said...

Hi Me! You are an inspiration to me, Me. BTW, you need to update that pic! I do love the idea of sending out words. Cast you bread upon the waters.

Me said...

You're right about the pic. That was from years ago. I guess it's time to update blogspot. I'll pencil it in between writing projects and housework. Retirement was supposed to be restful - ha!
Write On!

Lydstr said...

Hi Molly. I just discovered your FB page/blog. I closed my FB so I'm using my furry friend, Max Waggle, to hide behind. Your writing spoke to me - I'm not writer, my dream was to be an illustrator, at least that's what I tell myself. Even at the ripe old age of 62 I'm still trying to figure it all out. But one thing I've been reading about is mindfulness. It helps me stop worrying about the past and future and just be. I think I read that in what you are saying. Carry on! Lydia

Molly/Cece said...

Hi Lydia! I like the idea of mindfulness. Awareness in living is so powerful. I think the journey of our lives is to provide our answer to the mythic questions: Who are you? What do you want? Thanks for dropping by. Keep illustrating.