Sunday, October 24, 2010

Keeping it in Perspective - Part 3

It has been over two years since I've written about perspective, but given the events in my personal and writing life in the last few weeks, it's time to remind myself that everything has to be kept in perspective.

Life for me has been pretty darn good lately. I'm in my third semester at Vermont College of Fine Arts. I will graduate in July with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. My picture book, BENNO AND THE NIGHT OF BROKEN GLASS, published in January 2010 by Kar-Ben, has received starred reviews from both School Library Journal and Jewish Book World. I have five Author Visits lined up between now and the end of November for Jewish Book Month. A few weeks ago I learned that BENNO will be going into a second printing. And I learned last week that BENNO was awarded a Gold Medal in the Multicultural Picture Book category by Moonbeam Children's Book Awards. Life is pretty darn good! So why do I need perspective? Because as good as my writing life has been, my "other" life has been, both, even better, and profoundly sad.

Last week my daughter got married. It was a glorious weekend. Probably the happiest weekend of my life (so far). All our friends and families were together to celebrate. It doesn't get much better than watching your children grow up - whether they're heading off for their first day of kindergarten, starring in a high school play, graduating college, or walking down the aisle. Life's events are to be cherished and enjoyed. Two days after the wedding, I got on a plane to Florida to say good-bye to a cousin of mine who is dying of colon cancer (PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE - if you are over 50 get a colonoscopy!). We had hoped that she would make it to the wedding, but that was not to be. After deciding to stop treatment in early August, the doctors expected her to have six months and with pain medication they were to be a good six months. But life doesn't always work out the way we expect it to.

And that's where perspective comes in. Yes, My writing life is great right now. My personal life is great right now. But all of it can change in an instant. Getting published is not the be all and end all of our lives. Yes, some of you may say, "Well, that's easy for her to say. She's published." But I truly believe it. Writing is a part of my life. It is not my life. My full life is a combination of friends, family, activities, hobbies, and beliefs. Not one thing defines me. I think that keeping perspective keeps me on an even keel. No one could have been happier at their daughter's wedding than I was at mine. And no one could have been sadder bidding farewell to a loved one than I. But by keeping a balance of what's good in our lives with what's bad, makes it all easier.

So, the next time a rejection arrives in the mail - and there will be rejections - throw a hissy-fit, threaten to stop writing, say nasty things about the editor or agent who turned down your gifted prose, eat a box of chocolates, drink a bottle of wine, and then remember the good things in your life. Drag yourself back to your desk and send your masterpiece out again.

Oh, yeah, and when I get my next rejection. Remind me of this post!


  1. Meg, This is so true. Thanks for the perspective; I needed that :)

  2. Heidi and Robin - Please feel free to give me a wrap on the head some time in the future when I've got a case of the poor-mes!

  3. If the roller coaster of your emotional life lately appeared in a novel, would the writer be accused of contriving a week of extremes?

    Smart move to examine your writing life and real life through a lens adjusted for balanced perspective.

  4. I second what Robin said. Congrats on the award...and on your new status as a mother-in-law!

  5. Well said -- and not always easy to remember!

  6. Sounds like you've had quite a writing year! Congrats on the successes.

  7. Gale - Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

    J.L.- Ouch! the dreaded "mother-in-law" title.

    J.A. - Unfortunately, sometimes it's the really crappy stuff that helps keep balance. Keeps me from getting too big for my britches.

    K.M. - Yes, it's been a wonderful year. Thanks for the congratulations.