January 20, 2011
Existential Crisis # 564 in a lifetime of messages from the universe. Three rejections from the stellar book proposal for Invisible Grandparent that I worked so hard to ‘push out’ this spring. Three top selling East Coast based agents saying virtually the same thing.
Back in July, “you’ve got an extremely interesting background and the writing ability and marketing mindset to build an audience for this project and book,” but I pass until you continue ‘Going Public’ with your message of help, community-building, writing, and that you see what the range of stories, strategies, issues are and how you could be a leading voice, inspiration, healer, guide.”
Then in November: “Great concept, but I’m not seeing this as a commercially viable project so will step aside,” and just Monday: “a heart-wrenching tale and I agree is one shared by numerous other grandparents. But I am very sorry to report that despite your good proposal about audience and marketing, I am not all confident about being able to SELL your book in this grim and quickly changing publishing market.”
That day the very next e-mail I got was one that spouts some surprizingly astute daily affirmations, and it read … “Persistence, Patricia, is not about knocking on one door… until the dang thing finally opens.
It’s about knocking on all of them.
Knock, knock –
The Universe Daily Meditation: 1_17_11
Thoughts become things… choose the good ones! ®
© www.tut.com ®
Coincidence? I don’t think so. However, the truth is that recently I’ve gotten profoundly tired of knocking on doors. Of being ‘driven’ by delusions of grandeur that include fame and fortune and going on Oprah to promote ‘my way’ of healing a family secret that isn’t nearly ‘done yet.’ Last night I did a workshop on Crones Comedy for an audience of 16, not 300 as I had in the past, and my stand-up didn’t exactly ‘bomb,’ but the hugs and thank you’s I got afterwards, were for facilitating in small groups of three, ways we could all lighten up about the least funny things we face aging. That didn’t come from me, it came from them.
So what’s the existential crisis? Though I miss her, that manic Pat who has six plates spinning simultaneously has to go. That Pat doesn’t get to give full attention to anyone or anybody when she works that way. And money as a carrot is a sure way to make certain that the bottom falls out, as it has done with the economy in these past few years.
No, I think these rejections are a clarion call to a different way of writing for me. A different way of sharing my talents with the universe. Perhaps it’s doing more of what I do well: focusing on others and promoting them. Or perhaps a shift is happening in how I write and work with people. Perhaps I start with the not knowing. Staying in the uncertainty. Listening more to others. Doing less. Being still more. Yes, once again I get to admit that stillness is my final frontier.
I’ve done five interviews with other invisible grandparents, and each has informed me. Finding out how others handle and/or heal that separation has been instructive. Charlotte Kasl, herself a celebrated but certainly not ‘rich’ writer, was the most recent. She told me “I was on to something, but to continue the interviews, and “let the book write me.”
Wow, that’s something I’ve not thought of or done before. Up til now, I’ve declared myself a not-fiction writer, a compiler of personal essays with characters from my own life, that I’ve lived as if it were a screenplay. Perhaps stepping aside from me, a new form of working, of not do, will come into Being.