I’ve always had this strange idea that the day I become a published author I’ll make a few phone calls to notify my loved ones of my success before sitting down with a glass of scotch, a cigar and a stereo pumping out one of my favourite songs of all time: Second and Sebring. It’s a weird little fantasy, and one that doesn’t really have any great significance other than to provide a moment of reflection and mark the moment when I transition into a new period within my life. The song itself is an obvious choice to me. With an opening line stating ‘I believe it’s time for me to be famous’, it just seems like the logical choice for an author with an ego as grand as mine. But when you start to dissect the lyrics a deeper meaning emerges as Austin Carlile and Shayley Bourget pay homage to those who raised them and allowed them to succeed.
So this time I’ll make you proud.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been sitting on some pretty big news and was so close to having my own Second & Sebring moment. But sadly it just wasn’t meant to be. That homage to my family and friends for their refusal to give up on my stubborn arse was put on hiatus.
You may remember that a few months ago I ventured across the globe to chase down my dreams and the result was pretty damn positive. I walked away from the experience with a list of agents and film companies reviewing my work and a renewed passion for what I do. Since then I’ve been sitting on my hands awaiting feedback from those companies, twiddling my thumbs and averaging about five hours sleep a night. Then two weeks ago I got notification that my work was being presented to a board of directors for potential representation and publication. Suddenly that five hours of sleep I was averaging was cut in half and my mind went into overdrive as I started to imagine what it would be like when that phone call came through saying you’ve made it. Success was so damn close that I could taste it.
For two achingly long weeks I sat in the most fucked up version of limbo I have ever experienced. Neither a success nor a failure I moved through everyday life on autopilot, blissfully unware of anything other than my IPhone as it beeped with each call, message, or email. My phone would spring to life and my heart would skip a beat; could this be the call? And when it wasn’t a small piece of me would wither and die. Then after fifteen days of sheer hell I finally got the call every writer dreads:
We like it. It’s strong. It’s engaging. It’s just not us. Best of luck with another company.
Funnily enough I have always found positive feedback harder to take than the negative. When someone delivers the negative I feel inspired to work harder. It’s like waving a red rag to a bull. You tell me what I’ve produced is shit and I will run myself into the ground to create something better than you could ever dream of. But to be told that you are so close to everything you ever wanted is worse than being told to give up altogether. I’ve been in this situation before; a previous manuscript almost found publication, and when it fell through I crumbled. Yet this time I seem to be handling my stumble at the finish line rather well. I’m feeling inspired, confident, and grateful for the experience. It is an incredible feeling to have positive affirmations bestowed upon your work by an industry you crave to break in to.
So my gratefulness got me thinking; why do I have to wait until I’m successful or famous to pay homage to the people who have supported me throughout my journey? Why can’t I say near enough is close enough and throw out a little love to the people I would give my life to protect? Surely I can just say thankyou to my mother and father, my brothers, sister, and sister in law who have listened to my misguided tales of woe or pigheadedness over the years. And give recognition to my friends that have never given up on me when I have fallen in a heap or regressed into to a hermit like state. Surely I can have a Second & Sebring moment right now and say I’m still yet to make you proud of me, but through the positive feedback I received with my knockback I’m now more determined than ever to succeed.
Right now my work is still under review by a number of other companies and I hope and pray every single day that it will find a home with one of them. But even if it doesn’t I’m young, determined and not afraid to be knocked down anymore. If all of this fails I’ll remind myself that what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger and rise once more to take this industry by force. Until then the scotch and cigars remain untouched, but that song of homage and my love for those who inspire me will be screamed at decibels usually reserved for the wails of the damned.
To paraphrase Carlile and Bourget, when I break through I’ll make you proud to see me overcome all day life.
Proud of who you raised.