Now, for those of you who are new to the blog, or perhaps just want to chuckle at the memory, let me start by enumerating some of the great snapshots I’ve gotten at his encouragement.
There was the awesome sunset outside the plane’s window.
And the lizards doing it on the side of our house.
Yeah, that’s hubby. He has eclectic taste. So as you can imagine, I never know what to expect when he tells me to grab the camera. Ahh, but this one was pretty good.
I got excited. As a kid, these bugs were my favorite insect. They were just so odd. They have that weird head and huge honking eyes that look right at you and follow you as you move. And they kept their front legs together as if they were praying.
The female Praying mantas has an after-sex ritual. (And human males think that snuggling is bad, but they got off easy). You see, this female insect turns around, right after, or sometimes even during the deed, and bites the head off their mate and has him for an after-sex snack. (Hey, it does increase our appetites.) So I figured the females are praying for forgiveness, or asking for a lover good enough to keep, and the males are pleading for the willpower to avoid the hot looking female mantas.
However, as interesting as all this is, that’s not what this blog is really about. You see, hubby had spotted the praying mantas on top of our car at the post office, and not having anything with which to move the creature, he left him alone. And he was somewhat shocked to discover that the little fellow had hung on all the way to our house.
And that, my friends, gets us to the real subject of this blog: Hanging on. Hanging in there. It’s what I tell my friends whenever they find themselves in a tough spot. It’s what I tell myself when I find myself facing a hurdle. And don’t we all face hurdles? We’ve all been in that tough place where our patience was tried, or our spirit tested.
In my life and in my career, I’ve faced quite a few hurdles. I wanted to be a writer, but being dyslexic, the thought of having to get my ideas on paper, having to spell, and not leave out words, seemed too much. Also, I didn’t have the educational background that so many writers have when they set out with publishing dreams.
I tried anyway.
In spite of receiving over 5000 rejections on my work, both for my freelance articles and novels (yes, I was told "no" that many times) I hung in there. In spite of reading judges’ comments from writing contests like, “You should stop trying to be funny, because I think you might be able to write a good scene,” I didn’t let it ding my sense of humor.
In spite of being told by the professionals that what I wrote was too outside the box and my work was unmarketable, I continued to nourish that tiny seed of hope.
In spite, of it taking ten long years to publish my first book and another thirteen years before I sold book two, I didn’t let go.
I hung on to the hood of my dreams. I found ways to continue to believe in myself. I found ways to continue to improve. I cherished the love ones who found the ability to believe in me. And when the ones who gave up on me said, “Maybe it’s time to stop banging your head on the same damn door,” well, I’m just thankful, as they are, that I’m not a praying mantas and I didn’t turn around and bite off their heads for trying to “screw” with my dreams. But I’ll admit that I wanted to.
In this past couple of years, I’ve taken some major steps up the ladder in my career, and believe me, I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I’ve seen my books auctioned by publishers both in the US and in other countries. I’ve gotten fan mail in over seven languages. Some may think I’m an overnight success, but honestly, there’s been 9,855 nights, give or take a few for leap year, in the twenty-seven years that I hung on.
While I’m doing well, just in the last year, I’ve faced lawsuits, publishers unable to pay royalties, and health issues of loved ones, all of which can take a bite out of our optimism. But I just kept telling myself and them…"let’s hang on.” When our choices are to give up or just to keep going, why not just keep going? And tomorrow, if my genre falls out of favor, if my publishers close house, if life gets in the way of my well laid-out plans, I pray I’ll tighten my grip on life, remember to keep my sense of humor intact, and continue to hang on.
And I’d just like to say to any other writers out there who are facing rejection or non-believers trying to screw with their dreams, take a page from my playbook, and hang in there. To non-writers I offer the same advice. It really doesn’t matter what your dreams are: to run a marathon, to lose a hundred pounds (or even ten), to beat cancer, or to make enough to pay for a dream vacation. Whatever your dream is, hang on like the praying mantas clung to the roof of my husband’s car. Don’t give up. Ever.
The advice I offered to the praying mantas who hitched a ride home with hubby: Take the vow of celibacy, dude. Seriously, take it. Oh, and to all men, be glad snuggling is all we ask for.
Today, I’d like to offer a little Thanksgiving contest, a $25 gift certificate to Amazon to someone who is hanging on. So make sure you post a comment and you might just win. I’ll post the winner on top of this blog tomorrow morning. So make sure you stop by.
The winner of Gina Robinson's hilarious and romantic book The Spy Who Left Me is Sarah. So please email your snail mail address to christie(at)christie-craig(dot)com. Congratulations!
Happy Thanksgiving, guys!!!