Has anyone ever asked you that lame question,: Would you rather be happy or would you rather be right? To me, that’s always been a giant a no-brainer. I would rather DIE IN HELL and be right. OBVIOUSLY. Thank you.
The extreme suffering of repeatedly butting my head up against a brick wall, and perhaps age, are leading me to very slowly revise my view. It’s funny, I had lunch with my friend Rip (RIP IS A PSEUDONYM) last week (at some horrible Mexican place where the food…oh forget it). Anyway, after being clean for a time Rip has now become a total pothead, and he was mentioning how you spend a whole ton of energy making a decision to get clean and sober, and then you spend a whole ton of energy making a decision not to stay clean and sober, and that once you’ve made the decision not to, part of the reason you don’t want to get clean again is that you don’t want to “lose” or “waste” or “let go of” all that energy. (You may have to be an addict to follow this line of thinking but if you are, you’ll recognize it and relate to it instantly, as I did, and welcome aboard).
So I recognized that line of thinking but I also kind of thought, Oh dear. Because it’s obviously, on some level, insane.
And yet the very next day I realized that’s in some way what I’m doing with my book(s). I have one book my agent’s been trying to sell for months, and another book that’s been bought and, as happens, it’s been difficult to get the full skinny on. And I have not in any way, shape, or form let these books go. I’ve done and am continuing to do all I can, but I’m not trusting that whatever is going to happen, or “supposed” to happen, will. Whatever is supposed to happen is what happens. My view is that agents, editors, the publishing world, the people who sell books, the people who buy books, and basically the whole universe and everything in it should all act according to my plan and if they don’t, I’m going to hold out till my dying breath till they do. Because I WORKED MY ASS OFF ON THOSE BOOKS. I OPENED MY VEINS FOR THOSE BOOKS. And what I’m seeing is: Good luck with that.
One reason this blog has been a giant relief/release/surprise blessing is that it is simply unbelievable to write a piece and more or less immediately send it out to the universe knowing that someone, if they’ve a mind to, will find and read it. Part of my angst over my work is ego-based, but another part is simply that I’ve worked hard on something and finished it and now I want to give the darn gift! I can’t wait to give the gift! Look!–here’s a book! Look!–I want to show you my essay, my story, my post!
The generosity of my fellow bloggers, all you thoughtful, careful readers, how and why and that people respond have already revealed themselves to be part of an unfolding mystery. And somehow I feel that the blog, and whatever comes of it, is going to lead me closer to letting go of some of my most ancient, seemingly hard-wired ideas. That you have to work really, really hard and there’s NO MONEY. That nothing ever works out FOR ME. That I can never, ever rely on ANYONE BUT MYSELF. (Again, you may have to be a driven-by-self-centered-fear addict to get this). Because for things to “work out,” whatever that means, isn’t what I really want. I want to be released from bondage. I want to dare to accept the gift of reality. I want to live, as they did in medieval times, knowing that the most seemingly mundane moment is shot through with metaphysical significance and weight.
“For us, then, circumstances are not neutral. They are not things that happen without any meaning; that is, they are not just things to put up with, to suffer stoically. They are part of our vocation, of the way in which God, the good Mystery, calls us, challenges us, educates us. For us, these circumstances have all the weight of a call, and thus are part of the dialogue of each one of us with the Mystery present.
Life is a dialogue.
‘Life is not a tragedy. Tragedy is what makes everything amount to nothing. Yes, life is a drama. It is dramatic because it is the relationship between our I and the You of God, our I that must follow the steps which God indicates.’ (L[uigi] Guissani)…[P]recisely because this You exists, circumstances call us to him. It is he who calls us through them. It is he who calls us to destiny through everything that happens.”
My books aren’t in limbo, in other words, I’m in the midst of a dialogue! A drama! My destiny! I’m having a relationship with God (if only, just once, He’d speak!) So just for today, let me want to be happy more than I want to be right.
And let’s hope Rip puts down the weed.
9 Replies to “ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT”
Here's hoping your books get published soon. I enjoy your writing immensely. I'm bummed when I visit your site and there's not a new post to read over my morning cup of coffee. "Redeemed" is on my Christmas list.
I totally relate to this as regards getting the writing out there on the blog. My wife doesn't seem to get it. Why do I want to put my stories on the blog when #1, maybe no one will read them, #2, I won't make any money on them. Well, once in a while, someone does read them, and even though, so far, no one has commented, I wrote the stories at least in part for people to read. I had something to say, or God had something to say through me, and the important thing is that they be read, even if I make no money on them.
Now, admittedly, I have not gone to much effort to get them published. I have Rosary meditations and Stations of the Cross that were published, but my stories – I've hardly made an effort to publish them, but I put them on my blog. Now and then, I read one of them that is appropriate to my children.
I'll have to read this post again, because there were a couple of things I didn't understand, but this part about the energy going into the writing and the urge to have the writing be "completed" so to speak, by having it read by people, I get, I think.
I haven't mentioned the link to my blog, because I didn't want to seem to be promoting mine on yours, so I've only included a link to my choir blog. But just for the heck of it, in case you, or any of your readers what to check it out, it is linked to my name this time.
Thanks for this. I feel validated in my desire to post my stories, poems and commentaries on my blog.
I agree with anonymous. I'm bummed when there isn't a new post to read everyday. I'm sure you have a couple of other things to do 😉
I have been, lately, as I approach my 42nd birthday, contemplating (and not deeply enough for fear of what it may teach me) the concept of humility as related to my creative endeavors.
I think this is underlying this post.
This idea that we are called does not guarantee anything beyond the work itself. The work is the point. And my ego self, my perfectionist self, HATES that. Really hates it.
I want the call to include an ending that I like! I'm obviously being facetious; I'm obviously NOT being facetious.
This strikes a nerve! My latest manuscript is out to a new agent and I wait, working on the next novel, etc.trying not to get too hopeful or too realistic or too down…. but I am all of those things. Laughed out loud at "Good luck with that." so true! thanks for a great post
I know–so hard to strike, and keep, the balance between "I am so grateful to be able to write at all"–which I truly AM–and "What the…?"…
I have not embarked on a serious journey to pursue writing. I am still on the verge of trying to admit to myself that I want to pursue writing. For as long as I can remember, the most I have ever gone was unearth 5 different blogs and about 7 volumes of private journals. All just stacked as a hidden part of my life. I no longer want it hidden. But obviously the tension exists because I cannot stop thinking about it. I wonder when peace will come in the middle of this writer's journey.
LOL – I too, would rather be right!! It's so crazy, I started reading that quotation from Giussani (without having seen it before) and guessed immediately it was him without even seeing his name! So glad you're reading him 🙂
After one of the most intense, exhausting and exhilarating spiritual experiences of my 40 year old existence (involving real surrender and the humility that accompany's it) I woke the next morning to the sound of a bird whistling outside my window. In it I distinctly heard God saying "Follow Me…Follow Me…Follow Me." What followed… was 5 frenzied days and nights of writing and the conviction that this was the revelation of His plan for me: to be a writer. Newly tasked I quickly charged on without Him, sure that glory was to follow. (I even envisioned sitting down to an interview with Oprah! 😉 It's been 5 long years, several (unpublished) books, 2 blogs, 1 published article and innumerable rejections later and I'm finally coming back to where I was that first morning…Follow Me…Follow Me…Follow Me. Why is it so much easier to beat my head against a wall? I admit it wasn't until someone offered a more secular translation that it finally began to sink in "Go through the open door." I now find myself in the enviable position of teaching Morality to teenagers at a Catholic school! I wish I would have listened back at door number 1 😉
It seems almost like raising children. You work your hiney off carrying them, birthing them, baptizing them, teaching them to talk, toilet training them, educating them, introducing them to their Creator in some way and one day they reach that magical age when it's time to open your hand and release them from your constant care so that they might do what they were created to do. It's hard for moms to let go, to abandon to God what has really been His all this time anyway. I haven't written a book yet but I imagine it's like this. I imagine it's probably one of the most joyous things to have done and at the same time pain filled.