This and That

Musings on Being a Writer and My Life
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  • May 21, 2012 3:10 am

Hope is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words —
And never stops — at all

By Emily Dickenson


Be positive. You have to think positive. That advice is offered by well-meaning friends when someone faces a life-threatening illness or tragic situation. The “positive person” is held up as an ideal when someone is battling cancer. He or she is advised to be positive, think positive, and to speak in positive terms. What does that actually mean? A person facing possible death or at the very least a brutal and exhausting treatment plan, should only talk about how they plan to beat “this thing?” Why? So the people around them don’t have to offer comfort or solace when it’s needed? So the people around then don’t have to face their own mortality?

That advice is bogus. It robs people of their ability to share their fears and grief and denies the validity of their feelings. It forces the victim into the role of comforter and supporter.

We are in a battle for survival right now. My husband of almost 40 years has been diagnosed for the second time in 5 years with cancer. He is struggling to recover from surgery and to face his “new normal” which includes 24 hour a day oxygen therapy, debilitated physical condition and yes, an uncertain survival.

The only way I see us making it—surviving—is to cling to hope. Hope that he will eventually heal, hope that the surgery was ultimately a “cure” (if that’s even possible), and hope that the cancer will not reappear.

Hope sustains me when I wake in the morning and think about the rest of our day—filled with the trials that this disease has brought into our lives.

Without hope, all is lost.







  • July 16, 2011 5:28 am



When I first started this blog, I intended  to chronicle my journey to publishing at least one of my novels.

It has been a long and difficult trek, to say the least. I think if you could imagine yourself driving a car down a mountain road at 80 mph blindfolded, you would get a taste of what this has been like.

I contacted a local publisher about the possibility of having him publish the latest novel. He wants to see a
writing sample, which is standard procedure. I made an excuse (true confession time!) for not sending the sample out the very day I talked to him. Why? Because now I’m scared.

All the “what ifs” are floating around in my head—what if he doesn’t want to handle my book? What if he does?
Am I ready to work as hard as I will need to promote the book? Is it good enough?
Will people pay to read it?

I know that right now I am indulging myself in what my incredibly accomplished sister Rosemary calls the “imposter syndrome”—that somehow I have been fooling everyone and I’m really “not that good.”
Here is the sad saga of my quest for publication.

I have “cold queried” 10 or more agents. I have paid good money to sit across from even more agents and pitch my novel to them. I’ve had some interest in the book—and then received theinevitable, “You’re a talented writer, but…” email.

I’ve queried agents who have not had the courtesy to reply to my email.

One agent told me to my face that my novel couldn’t be very good—it wasn’t long enough. She never read even one sentence that I wrote. She then went on to tell a group of aspiring writers in a workshop I attended that we better not bad mouth her—because she would hunt us down and blackball us in the industry.

I have a mentor, L.C. Hayden, who has encouraged me. She generously tried to open a door for me at her publishing house—then her publisher decided to stop accepting romance/women’s fiction submissions.

Maybe you’re getting the picture.

Writing the novel took months of work and revisions took more months. I brought every chapter of the
novel to my writing critique group and welcomed their suggestions and criticisms (which I value highly). Then, I had the novel critically read by 5 more people—all of whom had suggestions. I had it professionally copy edited
for grammatical errors.
So, if this novel sees the light of day—which I hope and pray it does—it will be the culmination of months of work, unending efforts to “sell” it to the gatekeepers ( agents) and hours of pleading with God to just give me a chance.
Wish me luck as I finally gather the courage to take a chance once more, and bet all my chips that I have a winner!