Thursday, August 6, 2009

Eating Sand ... or, The Ups and Downs of the Writing Life :-)

This past weekend, we visited the always-stunning Oregon Coast. The roar of the ocean and the warmth of the velvety sand has the immediate effect of relaxing all the tensed-up muscles in my neck and shoulders. I love it.

And, so does the rest of the family. The kids are as content as can be digging in the sand, constructing sand buildings and bridges, and running alongside the frigid water. Jeff perfected a new sand-building technique I'd just read about in a magazine ... combining water and sand, and letting it drip from your hand into little sculptures. Witness here ... a mountain of sand trees!

What amused me most, however, was our attempt at flying the Blue Angel's jet kite. The wind was just this side of a little too calm and it refused to stay aloft. At one point, as Jeff held the string and Braden tossed the kite up in the air for one last attempt at flight, I grabbed my camera ... and shot this sequence:

Oh, yes ... we've got it ... we're heading up .....

no ... wait ... we're going down ...

oh dear ... yep, we're eating sand.

For some reason, as I watched this all happen over the course of mere seconds, my last rejection popped into my head. Usually, I'm waiting for a response from a children's book publisher. This time, however, I was thrilled to be waiting for a response from a magazine editor. It was the first magazine article I had submitted. I was branching out, expanding my horizon ... and I was quite excited by the prospect.

When the editor e-mailed back, I had the standard, "Do I really want to open this?" feeling in the pit of my stomach. But, of course, I did.

The first line was good ... "this is terrific", it read. I was soaring up, up in the air.

But, then I read the word, "unfortunately" ... oh dear ... I think we're going down.

"We can't find the right place for it in our line-up." And, there I was ... eating sand again!

I actually chuckled as I stood there, in the warm sand, silently connecting my rejection to the failure of the kite to fly on this particular day. Because ... on a different day - when the wind is just right - that kite will soar up in the air (and, yes, it will eat sand again too!!). It was a great reminder to me that someday - when the timing is just right - something I've written will find its place and get its chance to soar. In the mean time, I'll just have to learn to appreciate the sand!


Susan R. Mills said...

What a great comparison. How right you are! On a different day, that editor would have loved your submission! Keep submitting!

Stephanie Faris said...

When it comes to rejection letters my least favorite word has become BUT. Or, in your case, UNFORTUNATELY. You just get worn out with that. I get a lot of "while your writing has merit, this isn't the right fit for us at this time." Blech.

In your case, though, it sounds like timing...and the perfect opportunity to just keep trying with them, unless the problem is they can't squeeze anything in right now?

Danyelle L. said...


Sand tastes wonderful, doesn't it? >.< Thank you for your perspective. I really needed it today. :)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

You're so right--Don't ever give up. Keep submitting and believing!

Katie Ganshert said...

What a beautiful analogy. Starting mid September, I might have the opportunity to eat sand as well. That's when I'm going to start submitting!

batsick said...

Great comparison! Thanks for stopping by my blog. If you like, you can come and follow it/

lisa and laura said...

Been there, done that. Sorry about the rejection. But better to have highs and lows, right? That way you can really appreciate the highs and just imagine how good it's going to feel when you don't come crashing back down!

PJ Hoover said...

I'm glad it was able to bring some element of humor to your life.

Keri Mikulski said...

Great post! :) Love it!

Keep going.. I received some good advice from a fellow writer - feel sorry for yourself for five minutes and eat chocolate, then back to writing. :)

Anonymous said...

Never ever give up. . .you have a such a gift. Love to read your posts!

I have given you an award too Kelly.

Unknown said...

i need to hire you as my editor, lol. i'm horrible with apostrophes. my weakness.
great blog. i'm following you now. you should pop on over/follow mine. i have all things books...
nice to meet you.

Kelly H-Y said...

LazyWriter - Thanks so much! And, you are so right!

Stephanie - You said it ... I don't like those words either! :-)

Danyelle - Oh so yummy! A little dry, though, I must admit! :-) Glad it fit into your day well!

Eileen - That's right!!!!

Katie - Thank you! That's too funny ... never know, though, maybe you'll skip the sand!! :-)

Shigune - Thanks so much!!

Lisa & Laura - So, so right!

PJ - Me too ... it was the first time I'd looked at it that way, and it was kind of nice.

Keri! Thanks! I love it ... so funny how chocolate is always a key ingredient! :-)

Sherry! Thank you so much for your encouraging words, and THANK YOU for the sweet award. I'm hopping on over to your blog now. You've made my day!

Kelly! I'd be happy to! :-) Thanks so much for stopping by ... I'm off to visit your blog!

Kate said...

I love the sand building!!

Vivian Mahoney said...

Love your attitude--this is what will help you succeed. Keep on working and submitting. You are so close and you will find the right editor at the right time.

C.R. Evers said...

Awesome post girl! Beach comparisons are the best!

You have an awesome attitude!

It sounds like you've got a great person in your corner. It's just a matter of time.

AND. . . that same article may find it's perfect place in the near future.

I'm sure of it!

CC said...

We were camping at the coast last weekend! And our kite flying efforts look like yours.

Ups and downs. That seems to be about a lot of things...

Corey Schwartz said...

Aw, what a darling post! Love the comparison.

Bet you could get this post in a magazine!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Ooh boy. I do know the taste of sand. But all the sandy memories make the meal to come more delicious!

I love your drip castles. We've made quite a few ourselves.

Yat-Yee said...

Great analogy. Seems like we "get" to experience these highs and lows more than people who, say, crunch numbers for a living.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Great analogy and SO true. You'll get the timing right. : )

Beth Kephart said...

Stay with This is terrific. Hold that. She tells you the truth. Line ups are decided months in advance, and they constrict. They don't make room. You got a great response.

Next time, I pray, you will get the perfect one.

Kelly Polark said...

Great analogy. I know how that feels too. (what writer doesn't I guess...)
Fun pics! I'll tell my kids the new sand technique for the next time we go to the beach!

Kelly H-Y said...

Welcome Kate! Yes ... the sand-building was quite fun!

Vivian! Thank you so much for your kinds words of encouragement!

C.R.! Thank you, thank you!!! You're right, too ... beach comparisons ARE the best!!! Thank you for your encouraging words!

CC - How fun ... wasn't it a great weekend!? So, so true about it being applied to many things!

Corey! Thank you! Hmmmm ... maybe I'll try that! :-)

Becky! Yes ... it's definitely a bit grainy for my tastes! :-) hee, hee! Aren't those drip creations the best?! :-)

Yat-Yee! Thanks! You're right ... when I worked in a lovely office, it wasn't anything like this! (I remember those days fondly! :-))

Suzanne! Thank you, thank you!

Beth! Thank you so much ... your words mean so much to me!

Kelly! Thank you! And, yes ... definitely try it ... it's fun for the whole family! :-)

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

sorry about rejection - great analogy though. like that makes it any better - right?

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

Great analogy! One thing we writers have in common, we all know what rejection feels like! Good thing I'm a vegetarian, since I get to eat a lot of sand. Thanks for stopping by my place, btw. I'm following you now, so you'd better behave.;-)

Pen Pen said...

I was thinking about rejection the other day too-WHen I saw the 'Katherine Heigl interview on David Letterman'. She was complaining about a 17 hour work day on 'Greys Anatomy', and my reaction was- Did she NOT fail a million times before becoming an actress who actually GOT work?! There's probably a million aspiring actors in LA ready to work 17 hours a day and THEN some for even HALF the opportunities she has. It's like published authors who complain about deadlines... I'm like...Having a DEADLINE would be awesome!
And- I was kind scared when I first saw that kite-I thought it was a real plane for a sec :)

Sarah Laurence said...

I'm sorry about your rejection, but I love this post - the photos, your humor and the perfect images/metaphor. Keep soaring, Kelly, it will happen.

Kelly H-Y said...

Thanks, Shelli!!

Debra! Welcome ... so glad to meet you! Yes ... we do get used to it! Too funny about being a vegetarian!

Pen Pen - You are so right ... I do not like hearing people complain about the opportunity to work ... especially when they're making as much as she is!

Sarah - Thank you for your kind comments and encouraging words!

Clementine said...

Oh, I love this post. I'm right there with ya! I enjoyed my vacation immensely, but came home to a rejection email. Oh, the ups and downs...but it makes the ups more sweeter!

Cathy C. Hall said...

So glad to see that your sand castles are the real thing :-) Not so glad about that rejection. Except that a personal rejection like that means it was darn good work. And really, that's something to add to the positive pile of sand in the hourglasses of our lives. (Um, wasn't that some kind of soap opera tag line????)

Kelly H-Y said...

Amy! Well ... that can't be fair ... coming home from vacation to a rejection e-mail ... not fair at all! I'm so sorry. But, yes ... it does make the successes sweeter!!! Wishing you many of those sweet moments ahead! :-)

Cathy! Hee, hee ... yes ... that sounds an awful lot like a soap tag line! Thanks for making me laugh!