Sunday, October 20, 2013

Forging Ahead

If you read this blog, you know I do a lot of thinking while I'm walking Woki. Two weeks ago, our regular walk route found us near the finish line of a bicycle race. Not so unusual along this beautiful stretch of the North Shore. We didn't pay much attention to the colorfully suited hordes streaming past us at ridiculously fast speeds. On a walk, Woki doesn't care about anything but squirrels, and this day, I was completely preoccupied feeling sorry for myself over typical writer-angst stuff. A story I'd worked hard on had been rejected, another one had gotten filleted in a critique group, and the novel-in-progress wasn't progressing. Poor, poor, pitiful me.
A mile or so down the road, we came across one of the bikers, sidelined with mechanical problems. She had almost made it to the finish line, only to have a flat tire ruin her day. I got to thinking about the hours and hours she put in training for this event, and how sad it was to have it spoiled at the last minute. Sounds a lot like writing. Spend hours and hours working on a story only to have it ripped to shreds in a fifteen-minute critique, or summarily discarded by an editor after a five-minute read-through. Woki and I stopped for a moment to talk to her and offer our sympathies. As so often happens, I got more solace and inspiration from the encounter than I could offer.  The biker, whose name is Antoinetta, smiled and shrugged as she said, yes, she'd spent months preparing for the race, but what can you do? Next time would be better.
The older I get, the more I realize that there really does seem to be some sort of ying yang, and for every crappy thing that happens, something good comes along to balance it out.
Did I mention that last week THE WORLD UNDONE was chosen as a finalist for Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year?