Dancing in the Shadows

Some days I feel as if I just can’t win.

I guess today was one of them.  My manuscript sits with my agent, and I wonder if this round of revisions will be right?  Will she love it?  Will my book be finally good enough to sell?

So many other people seem to be getting deals.  They talk about their editors and publication timelines, and all the hard work it takes to bring a book to market.  From this end, their worries seem so much easier than mine.  Their books have sold, and will be on bookshelves — whether real or in cyberspace — and their stories will finally be read.

It is wonderful hearing about friends getting their books published, garnering three book deals, going on tours.  I wish them luck, really, really I do.  I love them, and I know how hard they worked, and how much they deserve it.

I just want to be one of them.  <sigh>

Will I ever get there?  Should I keep pounding my head on the wall, revising, rewriting, evaluating every period and comma and wondering what it will take to get this book launched?

I’m not alone.  Every writer goes through this, even the ones on the NYT Best seller’s list — even after they have multiple books in print.  I know, because we all talk about it constantly.  It’s like a haunting refrain that wraps its melancholy melody around our hearts and brains.  Will we ever be good enough?

What a mass of contradictions.  While we “know” we are in line with the experience of others, we still “feel” isolated, unworthy, unable, untalented — the list of “un’s” goes on and on.  And not one of them is an Un Cola — light and lemony — no, they are all pretty bitter and hard to swallow — and yet, we do.

In our discordant Greek Chorus, we are like specters on a stage moving in and out of the light, all singing the same tune, yet in our hearts, convinced we sing alone.  We do not need to summon evil spirits, we haunt ourselves with our worries, hidden hurts, and rejections.

Sometimes, I want to shout, come into the light, we are together, we are the same, but this is a profession where misery doesn’t love company, where we cheer our luckier and more talented sisters forward as they sparkle for their time.  We do not grasp at their moment, we do not pull them down, we dance for a moment in the shadow of the joy of their success — even while our own fears eat at our guts like the vilest parasites and rejection gnaws at our bones.

That is what makes it so special to be a mermaid.  To be bolstered by this bevy of smart, quirky women.  We share our joys and our fears, making sure all heads are above water as we swim in the pond.

We are sisters, dancing in the shadows, waiting for our turn in the light.

So, I ask you, dear reader, what is it that keeps you going when you feel as if you can’t go another step?  What keeps you from drowning in your fears? (The comment button is up top at the left of my photo)

I send you my love, and my wishes that all your dreams come true and that your burdens ease.  Remember, I’m here, dancing for you, too — whether in the darkness or in the light.

Diana Belchase