Monday, July 20, 2009

On the verge of death? Think again.

One of those crazy thought provoking moments happened to me this afternoon as I was cleaning up from from playing outside with my son.

Warning: this is a long post and pretty corny near the end.

I'll start by sharing the fact that I am one of those people that always feels slightly guilty for killing bugs even when they are nasty spiders hanging above my bed or a fly that insists on dive bombing my meal. But when it comes to anything that's the least bit threatening to my child it better watch out. As in I'll kill it or die trying. I don't care if it's a bee or a bear. I'm taking it on if it might hurt him! So anyway, a big ol' bee was dying twitching in the driveway in a space where Nate walks so I used a bucket and pushed it aside so he wouldn't end up getting stung if he stepped on it. Didn't give it another thought.

Fast forward an hour later when I'm cleaning up and go to move the bucket. There's the bee alive laying on its back on the verge of death. First off I'm surprised it's still alive then I think, oh crap I have to kill this thing. I can't let it lay there suffering like that. Yeah, so I search around for something that will surely crush enough to put it out of its misery. Which takes me forever, a strange fact considering I'm looking around in a garage packed full of everything from tools to my 92 yr old grandmother's furniture (she moved into an assisted living facility - long story!). I'm totally stressing about what will work cuz this is a big bee and I can't stand to hear the crunch! Finally I spy a sneaker. Pick it up. Walk over to the bee. Before I can even raise my arm it starts flipping out. Mind you it didn't move a bit when I was near it before or even when I shoved it with a bucket.

All of a sudden it flips over and just gets up and flies away. All I could do was stand there with my mouth hanging open. Not only for the fact that this thing on the verge of death shot up into the sky as if nothing had happened, but for the way it happened at the exact moment I was ready to clobber it to death. And to think I was prepared to help it die for its own good when it really was okay. More than okay it was full of life and zooming through the sky after sitting in a pine needle infested crack in the sidewalk covered with a bucket for over an hour!

Now for the way my crazy little mind operates.

After I recovered from the shock that my good deed would have been quite the opposite had I actually succeeded in killing the thing, I thought about writing. Lately I've seen quite a few (as well as my own twisted thoughts) on retiring a project. Writers saying the are shelving a story that agents didn't seem to connect with or sequels people are afraid to write in case the first story never gets picked up (gee would that be me?), that sort of thing.

What if those stories are like my bee? What if they just need that exact moment to get up and fly? Maybe that bee would never have gotten up the strength to fly away if I hadn't shoved it around with a bucket and threatened it with a sneaker.

There are "little" miracles happening all around us every day, I just happen to have been lucky enough to witness one today. As trivial as they seem they cause a shift within you. Anything can fly with enough power behind it. A marriage on the verge of divorce can be made fulfilling and warm again, a kid about to fail his senior year can turn things around and pass at the last second to graduate, and yes, a story that seems doomed to sit in the dark collecting dust can find indeed become a published success. If that bee can do it, so can you. We all can if we want it with every thing we've got. Not always of course, some bees are meant to die, some marriages should end, some kids deserve to fail and some stories should remain pushed aside.

But there are a hell of a lot of them out there that deserve a second shot. So before you give up and walk away from something give it a second chance. Send out one last round of queries or do a tenth round of revisions because it really does depend on how bad you want it and how hard you're willing to work. The journey towards publication really does begin with one person. Not an agent or a publisher. You. Me? I decided the second that bee flew away to keep kicking and screaming until my story flies. I haven't said too much about it but I've been struggling off and on with where to go next as far as continuing to work on my sequel or getting more involved in my new project. I'm still waiting to hear back on the fulls I have out but just in case that doesn't pan out I've decided to ride this wave out. To begin with, I've hardly touched the mountain of available agents. I can revise my query, and if those fulls turn into rejections I can revise the story.

Moral of the story. It's gonna take a whole lot more than someone shoving my aside to stop me from trying even I end up falling down and feel like giving up at some point. Of course if someone tries to smash me with a tennis shoe I might reconsider.

*If you know about bees and there so happens to be some sort of thing that they do where they look almost dead but aren't - don't tell me about it. Let me enjoy my little miracle!

1 comment:

Bianca said...

great post. Will go into my inspiration book, i think. Loved it!