Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stepping on my soul

Why do I often assume I have made the mistake?

Yesterday, I was devastated to learn that a New York literary agent who had been back and forth with me for a few days, forcing me to exhaust myself [yes, of my own volition] by revising my book proposal, felt my work was too similar to other things out there and one, in particular.

I was shocked, disappointed and blamed myself for having missed that title in my competitive research, which was pretty exhaustive. I AM a die-hard reporter, after all.

I thanked her for her time -- while gritting my teeth and wiping teary eyes -- and said I would look at the similar book and possibly make revisions.

Today, I took that look and also noticed the 2001 publication date. No wonder I missed the book; I was searching "recent" titles. It was eery, however, how similarly our chapters were titled. And our book titles both begin with Finding the ... I think I'll change mine, no problem. I had already traded it in after an editor's suggestion late last fall. Finding was her word; answering had been mine.

I was gracious, no burning bridges here, but also wanted to know what I could do differently ... as if I had made a mistake. She bluntly said to write something "special and unique."

OUCH. How can the deepest story of my soul be stepped on like that? That really is the conundrum of putting this work out before people that don't know me or care to. Especially those outside a spiritual environment. I had forgotten how ruthless the real world can be. What a wonderful lesson, however, in the generosity from my virtual and Facebook friends! The encouragement and support have overshadowed the devastation.

Today is better than yesterday. At least I don't want to burn my book now. Tomorrow will be brighter yet.

It does remind me of the fall session I had with an editor. At the time she said my writing was strong, the art great, but I needed to focus more. I took that hard as well, put the book away a few weeks, then dusted it off as I was ready to hear what she had said and made revisions that only strengthened the work. I am hopeful the same will happen this time.

I understand it all as a process. One of growth, not necessarily MY mistakes.

• Why do I/we so easily assume the blame personally?
• Or even assume blame?
• How can I work in the secular world with a spiritual mentality that does not crush me?
• Why should that outside accolade/affirmation matter?
• What if I lived my life for myself or something bigger and not the cultural nod?

it was beautiful,
and was me

it emanated from Spirit

and I was pleased

til the other world
said otherwise

and made me
my beliefs,
my soul

for a second,
when I realized how ridiculous that is

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