And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.
When I considered what my “moment” was this week, I knew exactly when it was that it occurred. In fact, it was an over-the-moon moment, as opposed to a gentle “aaaah” moment when the realization of happiness falls over me like the cloth of a just-right shirt. This week’s moment was like standing in the middle of a sudden downpour, and the rain is warm and invigorating.
But I was reluctant to write about it, and I took a (another) moment to examine why. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the discomfort was because it would feel like bragging.
We all experienced a conundrum when we were in school, and we likely experience it with our children or grandchildren now. When we, or they, accomplished something, we encourage them to cheer, to relish, to enjoy. True moments of accomplishment can be rare, and we say they should be celebrated. Stand in front of a greeting card display sometime, and you will find a whole section under the heading, “Congratulations!” We were told to cheer, we cheer for our children and grandchildren. But as we get older, and we settle into our lives, sometimes cheering feels like bragging. Like we’re calling attention to ourselves. And like it’s not a good thing to do.
At AllWriters’, whenever a student has a publication acceptance, we “woohoo” it. On social media and in the classes themselves, we cheer. I tell my students this is important, because the accomplishments in writing and in the publishing industry are so hard to accomplish and happen with way less frequency than rejection. Man, celebrate! Cheer! Revel!
Some of my students make sure I know about the opportunity to cheer – they email me, tag me on Facebook, jump up and down right in front of me. Others kind of sidle in sideways, lower their heads, and whisper, “I have something you can woohoo about…” The point being that, even if a person looks away and says, “Oh, shucks,” when a cheer goes up, you can bet they’re glowing inside.
And I am all about making my students glow inside. So why did I hesitate to share my own glow?
Probably because I saw a writer once on Facebook, a fairly well-known writer, say, “Why is it that some writers feel the need to cheer about their publications? It’s just what we do.”
I’ve met this writer. And I’ve seen the position of his head, which is normally tilted back so he can look down his nose. And because I cheer for my students and I also cheer for myself, I shrunk a bit that day. And I think of it whenever I have something to announce.
However, there is something else I noticed about that particular down-the-nose looking writer. His posts are mostly complaints about the publishing industry, complaints about editors, complaints about other writers. Even though he’s had some significant accomplishments. So no wonder he doesn’t celebrate. He can’t even feel the joy of what he does, what he’s done, and who he is.
So I’m throwing my discomfort to the side. And I’m reveling. Here is my moment of happiness, which occurred over a 48-hour period.
- My next poetry chapbook, Olivia In Five, Seven, Five; Autism In Haiku, has been accepted by Finishing Line Press! It will be my 13th book overall, my 4th poetry book. And this book, as you can probably tell by the title, is so very near and dear to my heart. YES!
- A few hours after this acceptance, I heard from a literary magazine called Months To Years. They focus on pieces about death and dying. I’d sent them an essay, and the editor emailed to tell me they loved it, but their spring issue was full, would I be okay with waiting until the summer issue? Hmmmmm…SURE!
- And then a few hours after that, the editor from Cutthroat Literary Press emailed, asking me if the story I submitted to them, Even The Air, was still available for publication in their upcoming anthology called Corona Chronicles. It is indeed, since I only submitted it to them. So it will be coming out too. AND this is the first story/chapter from my current novel-in-progress to be accepted as a story. Before I’ve even finished the book. YES!
- A little after that, an email came from a woman in Tampa. Seems she read If You Tame Me and loved it so much, she approached an AARP representative there and they formed a book club and are going to discuss it. Would I consider Zooming in to the discussion? YES!
So in a 48-hour period, I had acceptances in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Acceptances for a book, an anthology, and a magazine. And an invitation to a book club that was discussing one of my books.
WOOHOO! This kind of thing doesn’t happen very often. Acceptances happen, but to have them all fall, bing, bing, bing, and soak me in that rainstorm I mentioned at the beginning…oh, that’s rare.
In this field, and in any career involving the arts, the slaps on the back are few and far between. Even rarer are the slaps we give to our own backs. For what we’ve done. For what we’re doing. For who we are.
I’m slapping! I’m slapping!
And I’m not going to shrink at all. I don’t want my students to shrink. Neither will I.
Please celebrate something you did today. Please acknowledge it. And then go to bed smiling.
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.