Thursday, August 28, 2008

A lesson from the strangest place

This past week, between frenzied scout meetings, fundraisers, the beginning of a new school year and the constant attention I place upon my novel, I somehow found the time to write an entry for the FaithWriters Weekly Challenge.

Over the course of a few days I outlined, sketched, drafted, edited then submitted “Slough of Despondence.” I had little illusion that I could repeat the previous week’s first place finish, but I thought the entry was splendid.

The next several days I received numerous “yellow boxes,” the comments of other writers. Their glowing reviews of the entry puffed me up greatly and I began thinking that perhaps I just might pull off two top-three finishes in a row.

Today, the results came in and as I read the list, I felt the air slowly buzz out of my self-made balloon. I didn’t see my name in the top three, the top fifteen, or even the top forty. I even used the search function on my browser just to make sure I didn’t miss it. There was nothing to be found.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I was or am heart-broken, but it was a huge let-down and did not connect with the comments I had read in the course of the past week.

As I sat at work, pushing out my digital projects, I listened to many of the speeches and commentaries that have surrounded the political air of the Democratic National Convention. Now, it must be noted that I am a fervent Independent and lean neither towards the Democratic or Republican parties. I find it difficult in these troubling times to honestly trust anything that comes out of the mouths of the wealthy elite of our nation.

However, when I came across a few stories about Joe Biden, something he said is still ringing in my ears. Failure and success is not marked by how many times you get knocked down, but how quickly you get back up. I am certain I have heard this pep-talk innumerable times from my own parents and elsewhere, but for some reason, the tone Joe Biden took and the look in his eyes spoke directly to me.

My life has not been marked with success after success, rather, failure after failure. Yet through it all, I have always gotten back up and moved forward. This little blip on my writing portfolio will not mark my downfall. I will get back up and I will continue on. Rejection is a most common aspect in the life of a writer and it is time I get used to it. Thank you, Joe Biden for the reminder. I’m probably still not voting for you, but thank you.

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Favorite Books

  • Portals to Hell
  • To Die In Chicago
  • While God is Marching On

Favorite Movies

  • Dances With Wolves
  • Gettysburg
  • Glory
  • Master and Commander
  • Red Badge of Courage