Tuesday, 29 January 2013
An Open Letter to All the Dreamers
This is the Righteous Perverts Pulpit so I decided to preach a little sermon. We talk a lot about books in RP, but we also try to lift each other up and support one another by talking about our experiences. This is mine.
So I’ve spent the last year watching an awful lot of reality TV. I don’t love the “lifestyle” versions. So no Real Housewives or stuff. But I do love the competition shows because that’s where the real drama is. Not in the Botoxed, I married I millionaire shows, but in “American Idol” and “The Voice” and “Top Chef” and “Project Runway”. Real people with real talent praying for the American Dream. I feel for these contestants. And I know the moment they run down the wrong path.
What bugs me? “This was my chance.” “I blew my only shot.”
What? These are kids crying and swearing that their lives are over because a panel of judges said no. Yes, they are a powerful panel and yes, it’s a great shot. But I know something they don’t know.
I ain’t the only one.
This is the part where I tell a little of my story. I’m a forty-two year old who, up until three years ago, was a housewife. Nothing wrong with that, but my whole life revolved around my children and my husband and the voices in my head were on the back burner because that was just a little pipe dream. I’d written three books and tried to get some interest going. No luck. Three books over nine years. I’d tried, right? I’d had my shot. I was thirty-eight and if you haven’t made it by then, you probably won’t.
That’s what I thought. So when my husband asked me what I wanted after I’d supported him through his MBA, I said another baby. I wanted to hold on to my youth. I’d only really been a mom. Baby number three was on her way and I didn’t have to worry about a time when I wasn’t someone’s mom. I could put off being me.
Sometimes change comes in the sweetest packages. I almost died giving birth to my baby girl. I can still hear my doctor cursing and see him sweating because I was bleeding out. They made my husband leave after they managed to get her out of me. I was given some really awesome drugs and I remember everything that was said, but I also remember thinking that it was okay if I died because she was born and it was okay.
And when I came off that table, I was a different human being entirely.
I was awake. I was alive. I was ready.
I wrote six books that year. It had taken me nine years to write three before, but I was open and a flood of emotion poured from me. I had so much to say, so much to do and nothing could stop me.
New York editors told me no. Agents told me no. Everyone told me no. And I kept on. There was no one chance. There was only the next chance. The next shot. The next street to try to turn down.
I am now forty-two years old with the sweetest baby girl ever. And I have a dream that has played out. It’s not what I thought it would be when I was twenty. I thought I would write a book a year and live in a mansion.
It’s better. I write everyday. I reach out and put myself out there and what I get back is so much more than money. It’s real connection. It’s knowing I meant something to a stranger. It’s knowing I made a difference.
And I still get turned down. Those first six books I wrote? I love them, but I’ve now been turned down by almost big publishing house in New York. And that’s after I’ve sold a ton of books and with a big agent behind me. The rejections don’t stop, but that doesn’t mean a damn thing if you really believe.
So for all of you dreamers who think it’s over, I’m here to tell you it’s only over when you decide it is. Life has the funniest way of showing us different paths. That dream that we thought we couldn’t have can morph slightly and turn out to be better than we could have hoped.
Be open. Embrace all the roads and avenues that are offered. Never stop believing that the path is closed no matter who says “no” to you. In the end, the only “no” that matters is the “no” say to yourself.
Believe. Dream. Live. And I will be rooting for you.
A contest – because I love to give away stuff! Leave a comment and get your name placed in a drawing for a signed copy of any of my books in paperback. Contest ends February 4,2013. Winner will be announced here in the comments. Good Luck!!
Sophie Oak writes erotic romance for Siren Publishing. Her latest novel, Once Upon a Time in Bliss, is available now at Siren-Bookstrand.