Sunday morning, foggy and wet here in Colorado’s high desert, though the sun is trying to come out. We’ve had so much rain in the past three days that the ditches — which had been turned off — are running again.
I think I may be nearing the end of my WordPress daily prompt experience. It’s been a good, long run but increasingly I have nothing to say in response to the prompts and I’m reading fewer blogs written by other people.
I remember how this started. I got a book about how to market a self-published book (of which I had two). One of the first things I was supposed to do was to write a WordPress blog. My Blogger Blog wasn’t going to cut it. It had to be WordPress or nothing. So, I sat down, examined the platform, and began. I don’t remember now what I did first — THIS blog or the blog for Martin of Gfenn. I have now written more than a thousand of these posts, have multiple blogs and really, the book was wrong.
Saturday I got a box of books. They are all The Brothers Path. Not one was sold from any of the three Tattered Cover stores in Denver. I paid $17 to ship them back to me. It’s OK. That’s the deal in the contract. So now they sit, nicely wrapped up, in a corner of my living room. I was kind of mad at them for a while — irrationally, I know — but I was. Then I remembered a night long, long ago when I was a 20 something living in Denver and working at a large, downtown law firm.
I was busy writing stories and submitting them in big brown envelopes that also enclosed an envelope to return the story. I was at the beginning of my arc of dreams. My life centered on the creative work I was able to squeeze into Friday night, Saturday, Sunday. The rest of the time, I earned a living. This segregated me from my colleagues and friends whose lives centered on what a “normal” 20 something’s life centered on.
But that afternoon a couple of colleagues (other paralegals) invited me out for drinks at a new bar in a part of Denver that was being rehabbed. It was the beginning of the “rejuvenation” of Denver. The 16th Street Mall was new, just built. It was a glitzy place — breaking away from the 70s “fern bar” motif, it was all glass bricks and stainless steel. We were in the 80s now.
These two women had boyfriends who were coming to meet them about an hour after we got there. Accountants. It seemed there was a “thing” between accountant men and paralegal women; a common pairing. They showed up. The party changed. Finally, one of the girls said, “We’ll drop you home, Martha.” I didn’t drive to work in those days. I lived close enough to walk and I did.
So I got in the back seat of the guy’s very nice car (BMW?) and was dropped off at my apartment building. I went in the front door and opened the mailbox. The mailman had crammed three big brown envelopes into the little space.
In those days, a rejected story came with a pre-printed note. “We’re sorry to have to inform you, your story does not meet our needs at this time.”
I was a little drunk, drunk enough that my emotional armor was down. I took my treasures into my apartment and ripped them in shreds and I cried. Then I looked at all my paintings — watercolors on paper — and I cried some more. THOSE girls had boyfriends and I had rejection notes and a bunch of paintings. I cried some more. Then I went to bed, crying, covered in paintings and shards of stories. I woke up a couple of hours later and understood that the trade off had been necessary. That I’d had the hours of joy writing the stories and making the paintings. I truly could not imagine a relationship as satisfying. By then I was already divorced and scared.
It was a lesson in “I don’t have this, but I have this.” A lesson in gratitude.
It’s the same with the 9 copies of The Brothers Path. They’re now on sale directly from me at cost, $3 plus shipping. Just let me know if you have a burning (ha ha) desire to read about the Protestant Reformation from a different perspective than Anne Boleyn or Martin Luther. There really was a lot more to it that the two stories that are rehashed constantly as if there were no others.
As for this blog, I won’t be writing it for a while.