Sunday, May 29, 2016

Yes and No

I know I recently used this, but I should have saved it for this post.  Image © Lori Gravley.

“Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

This week, I got some great news.  A poem I submitted earned a first place prize which included a writer’s conference scholarship and publication.  An anthology that included five of my poems was accepted for publication.  My CSA asked to use on of my pictures from last year for their cookbook. 

I also got some disappointing news.  I wasn’t chosen for a mentorship I applied to, and one of the agents who had a full of my poetic memoir declined to represent me.  Her note was lovely and she had high praise for my work, but she felt she was representing too many verse novelists.  So, the answer was no.

Guess which bits of news I thought of more often.

This writer’s life is full of yesses and nos.  I understand that, but I hate no.  I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere in my childhood, I learned to hate it.  In fact, I stopped asking for things because the answer was so often no. 

It’s normal to dislike no, but I have such a strong aversion to it that for a long time I didn’t ask for people to read and accept my work.  I’ve been working with that aversion. 

But I’ve been wondering, recently, what other effects this aversion to no has had on my life.  How much do I avoid asking for things when the answer might be no? How often do I do it myself instead of asking someone who might say no?

I started a practice of sending out my work, knowing sometimes the answer would be no, but it’s a practice fraught with anxiety.  I wonder if I need some new mantra to repeat to myself.  The quote at the beginning of the post attributed seems to be a good place to start. 

My work and my writing life will find their right place in the end.  If they haven’t found a home, it’s not the end. 

Now, to move that mantra into my heart. 

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