It wasn't. My agent is awesome. She got my foot into doors at major publishing houses and I'm still amazed these editors read my novel. They gave feedback and I revised. For nearly a year. But ultimately, in one area I could not revise because for me it changed the core of the story and then I couldn't stand behind it. So for now, my book is put to the side. For now, my dream is deferred.
Obviously, this news breaks my heart. I dreamed of seeing my book on bookshelves. The fact that it won't be there- well how else can I feel but hurt? You hear a lot about writers who almost didn't make it. Who went to the last publishing houses- and just then they sold and now they are living legends. We are a country proud of overcoming obstacles and these stories give us hope and inspire us. But the truth is- for every writer who makes it, there is one who didn't. Failure is rarely spoken of but its there- and sadly- its a part of life, albeit a bitter part. It hurts to share but share I must because its my truth.
When I first found out, I didn't want to write anymore. All that effort and for what? I thought. But as the days passed clarity set in. As much as this hurts, its not the end of the road. That effort is not all for nothing. There are good things that have come of this. I have an agent who stands by me and will support my next book. I have confidence in my writing- as the reasons for the no wasn't my writing abilities but technicalities that could not be overcome. And the truth is, while the ultimate dream is to be published- I never wrote for that. I wrote because I had to give Naila's story a voice. I wrote because its what I love to do. Because I find peace within the written word and because its just a part of who I am. I can't not write. Publishing or otherwise doesn't change that.
My analogy of feeling like a tree without leaves is accurate. I felt like a leafless tree. Not a tree-stump. Not a hollowed out tree, dead but standing. No, my sadness is natural but it is seasonal. Trees lose their leaves (except those hoity toity evergreens) but leaves grow back. Spring will return. Its the natural order of things.
Perspective too, is a beautiful thing. The day I heard the news, tears falling down my face, my son looked up at me while I held him in my arms. He put his hands on either side of my face, leaned his chubby face towards me, studied me with his large brown eyes before he leaned in and gave me a wet kiss on my cheek. My first kiss.
When we lost everything in Hurricane Andrew my parents firmly told us, we can fall down but as long as we have each other, we can always get back up. As I sit here typing these words while he sleeps in the swing across from me, I know those words to be true. He heals my wounds. He soothes my aching heart.
My book is put to the side but life is not. Its just as beautiful as it ever was and despite this mountain-sized bump on my path to authorship- I'm down but not out. Thanks for all your support along the way. Your comments have been like virtual hugs and I can't thank you enough.
What happens to a dream deferred?
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
like a heavy load.