“Artists are people who are not at all interested in the facts—only in the truth. You get the facts from outside. The truth you get from inside.” --Ursula K. LeGuin

Thursday, July 24, 2014

See You At The Top

A psychiatrist once told me that we all have a princess suit over the top of a frog’s suit. The trouble is we have holes in our princess suit, and so we jerk and tug and pull on the princess suit trying to keep the frog hidden--of course thinking that the frog is real. The princess suit is flimsy and the more we pull, the more it tears, and so we carefully fold it over trying to hide our that frog that lurks beneath.

What we don’t know is that beneath the frog’s suit is a real princess.

I was reading Jeff Goin’s (Writer’s) blog where he talked about our two selves—the one we show the world--you know the one, where we try to conform, where we seek acceptance or approval, where we try to fit in, where we are seeking love in all the wrong places.

But beneath the princess suit, buried beneath the frog’s suit there lives a true princess.
So, as a writer and as a person, how do we shed the suits and emerge our true selves?
We are a delicate lot, aren’t we, contorting ourselves to fit in? And what is fitting in anyway? Following the crowd? Going with current trends? Being afraid of losing love, or not having it in the first place? We’re afraid of the power structure—oh yes, they can reject us.

Writers know that if they do not follow protocol their queries will be ignored. If they don’t get past the gatekeepers their words are useless. The easiest answer is “No,” so say the agents, I know, I heard one say it at a Writer’s Conference.  Literary agencies and publishers hire a bunch of young students, English majors preferably, lock them in a room, throw in a pizza, and a stack of rejection slips (it’s easier now with emails), and thus begins the rejection process. Clear the stack. Many believe that nothing good will be found there anyway.

It is the same with resume writing. At my daughter’s place of business the administrator said to write the resume one way while a resume-writing seminar leader said to write it another. I have heard that a resume is a good way to get rejected, but then you don’t get through the door without one. Oh the irony of it all.

What to do? Go to your window. Stick your head out and yell “I’m a human being damit.” Remember Howard Beale? “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

What this means it to declare yourself to be whatever you want. If you follow the standard, you will be that--standard. Nobody defines you. If you are a writer say you are and get with it. I believe that perseverance and self-confidence pays off. I believe in believing. We can do it. See you at the top!