I’ve done a lot of waiting in my life. in fact, I’ve become good at it. I am patient. I can out-wait a rainstorm, a winter storm, a teenager’s tantrum, my children’s father’s poorly-compensated job. an infected cut that resists healing, a lacrosse game played in a snowstorm, a home-remodeling crew whose priorities are radically different than mine.
I can wait. I am patient. but this doesn’t mean I like it.
when it comes to my writing life, patience seems to be its very foundation. and its walls are built of tenacity. I don’t believe there’s a ceiling, and the roof–which plays with the sky above and only provides a protective function when necessary–is made of joy, exaltation and delight loosely woven with thousands of whee‘s and woo-hoo‘s.
I have waited more than eleven years for a yes from an agent or publisher. and that’s counting backwards to the “completion” date of my first book-length manuscript, a memoir, which still resides in the proverbial drawer. (and on a cd: always back up your work.) and here’s the thing: I am not giving up. this is where patience and tenacity sit quietly together, doing their little subconscious work, changing atoms and cells from eager, impatient things to calm, faith-filled, dogged centers of groundedness.
I envision the day–hour–moment when I receive that first real yes. I’ve won a writing award; I’ve received oodles of positive feedback; I’ve heard yes-but not for us. the genuine yes is coming, I know this . . . but I’d sure like to know from what direction it’s coming so I could meet it halfway.
until then, I just keep working. I write, I edit, I write some more. I help friends with their projects, I jot down ideas when they flow and step away from my notebooks when my creative river dwindles. most days I carry my notebook around with me just in case. I begin drafts, I let them rest until they either find their way to germination or sink back down into fallowness. I am nothing but tenacious.
some mornings I wake up thinking today is the day; most mornings I don’t. most mornings I wake up thinking today is another step in the process. because even after that incredible yes will come days–weeks–months of continued patience. revision. adjustment. editing. more tenacity.
I didn’t choose an easy life. or rather, an easy life did not choose me . . . I’m quite certain my heart and soul have given me little choice in the matter. in being true to myself, there’s nothing else to do but continue being patient. out-waiting bad weather, out-waiting a fear-filled marketplace, out-waiting indecision. continuing to have belief in my path, remaining tenacious. tenacity, from the latin tenere, to hold. that’s me. patient, holding.
patient, holding, never giving up the dream. just watch me.