I have another man in my life, one I see at the office. He says all the right things, the things women long to hear:
|Mr. Wonderful, my workplace romance.|
"The ball game really isn't that important. I'd rather spend time with you."
"Actually, I'm not sure which way to go. I'll turn in here and ask for directions."
And my personal favorite:
"Here, you take the remote. As long as I'm with you, I don't care what we watch."
When Mr. Wonderful's battery dies, I'll be inconsolable.
I would like to have a writer's version of Mr. Wonderful as well. One who would say things like, "You're funnier than Dave Barry," or "Here's that $10,000 advance for your poetry chapbook."
A better aspiration is to simply keep going when I feel discouraged. I'd like every word to roll off my pen perfectly, every sentence to be brilliant, but the actual process is more akin to W. Michael Gear's "vomit and mop" method."
Michael once told me in an interview how relieved he was when packrats urinated on his first, dreadful, unpublished novel and his wife Kathy finally allowed him to throw it away. Anne Lamott extolls the virtue of "shitty first drafts," and I've often heard it said that "you can't edit nothing." But oh, how painful it can be to put words on a page and know just how far they fall short.
Writing well is difficult. It takes time, but it can be done. And it is so worth it when some Mr. Wonderful whispers in your ear, "Here's your book contract." Or says your article or poem has been accepted for publication.
Sometimes we have to tell ourselves that our stories matter even when we can't seem to get them in print. Rejection slips show perseverance, although few of us wish to have an extensive collection of them. All I can say is keep going. Find a cheerleader, even if it's yourself. Your stories matter.
Be your own Mr. Wonderful.
For the record: My husband tells me to relax while he makes dinner, although it's always pizza. He's not that into ball games, nor is he afraid to ask for directions. He even lets me have the remote now and again.