Chocolate is the base of my food pyramid. It is manna from Heaven, in any form. It is also the creative dark nectar provided by the Writing Gods. You will never see an author without chocolate within reach. Nothing can be so evil and deliciously good at the same time. Hungry yet? Grab your favorite chocolate fix and settle into the chair next to me...today, a floral wingback that travelled home on top of my minivan years ago when my husband indulged in a hissy fit and bought his first Harley. I've since furnished my house via motorcycle purchases. The rumble of those "bad boy" pipes pulling into my driveway, signals the furniture delivery truck.
Now for my news, which I had to wait to share until now, even though a little "tweet" informed me early. Designer Genes and Riley's Pond both won in a writing contest, taking 5th and 6th place! Yeah or Yawp! (whichever). I am a double winner and doubly blessed. My talents I consider "gifts" from a higher place, and my creative angels have been working double time to help me reach some pretty lofty goals.
But alas, the ladder is tall, in fact, I still can't see the top, only the never ending succession of rungs left to climb. At times, I stop to breathe, meditate, and on more than one occasion, contemplate giving up and returning to the bottom, which is much closer than the top. Then what? Walk away after all this hard work?
Several ladders run parallel to mine, some colleagues racing up the steep steps faster, while others remain below my position. Every now and then a delighted squeal of victory sounds from the great unknown above and those of us still trudging on, stop and yell a "yawp" or tip a glass in celebration of their accomplishment. But each ladder is within reaching distance of the other, so if one slips or tilts, we can catch it and re-align it until it's steady again. That's why I could never shove mine aside. I might risk knocking someone off theirs, or in my retreat back to the bottom, drag someone wavering on a rung, down with me. And, if someone on either side of me rocks, I won't be there to catch, support, or push upright, and they might fall.
Am I right my fellow authors? Do we reach our goals alone? Did we climb the ladder of success solo, or did we lean on someone from time to time when we needed a break, a shoulder to cry on, a boost to the next rung, or a good old fashioned reality slap to push on?
As with all "blessings," gratitude is the necessary pay-it-forward to remain on the receiving end. If not, we can't explode and share our good fortune, material or emotional, with someone reaching out in need -- another writer grasping for a lifeline. We implode, instead, centering on ourselves and becoming off balanced. Our creative juices slow to a trickle and our work lacks the luster it once carried.
Spring is a time of renewal. Flowers and trees wake up from a comatose winter and flourish, turning their colorful heads and branches heavenward, thanking whatever concept of greatness is responsible for their rejuvenation. We serve as their caretakers, watering and feeding, watching them grow.
So it is with writers. Our caretakers, and they are many, from our home cheerleaders, to critique groups, editing partners (which are actually our oxygen tanks), to our writing clubs and organizations, and finally our agents. Each supplies us with the "nutrients" we need to flourish and grow from seedling to mighty oak. Remember to thank, encourage, and share your knowledge as you climb each rung and help someone else find the courage to take another steep step.
To those who have served as the wind beneath my wings, I thank you, professionally and personally. I wouldn't have the courage to put myself out there in query letters, blogs, and tweets, nor have the strength to accept a rejection as a "passing grade" for a test I was brave enough to face. And, I certainly wouldn't be winning contests! Here's to you holding my ladder, pulling my lifeline, and slapping me all too frequently.
Does my chair make me (look) "phat?" You bet it does! Sitting in it, surrounded by chocolate, notebooks, stacks of books for research or pleasure, and a sparkly mask reminding me I am whoever I chose to be when I write, I look superb, wonderful, terrific...awesome!
(Okay, maybe a little "chunky" too, a side affect to your food pyramid being based on chocolate, but who the hell cares? "Phat" and proud of it.)
Here's me passing you the bowl of M&M's. Enjoy!
Joelene....fighting Harley for the last chocolate doughnut.