Valentine’s Day – Friday February 14th started with resolve. The previous day had delivered my hopes and dreams a pretty devastating kick in the proverbials and I had dealt with this blow in as positive fashion as I could. I had continued as if nothing had occurred and kept repeating to myself:
“I can do this, I will not be beaten. I will bolster my finances through my writing. I will earn money as a writer”
So it was that February 14th started with resolve and determination. If the kids can fall off that tyre (see previous post)and get straight back up on it time and time again until they master the art of tyre walking, I can pick myself up from whatever life throws and get on with the job of fulfilling my dreams. I greeted Valentine’s Day as Boadicea (see previous post). I knew I had an arsenal of short stories residing in the writer’s airing cupboard, all just languishing and awaiting the day I would finish them, tidy them or get over their initial rejection. The characters were calling me, bored with the confines of a dusty file and vying for my attentions.
“When did I stop trying?”
I asked myself this question knowing without checking that my competitions / magazine submissions records would show a marked depreciation over the past twelve months. It was time to rectify that and make 2014 a bumper year for submissions and successes. First stop, defeat analysis: Why had my submission to the 2013 Words with Jam Bigger Short Story not been placed? It was a good story. I had set out to win. I had selected the competition specifically for this particular story. I had studied the judges style, I had identified an affinity with my theme, I had set out to win. I needed to review the winning entries and see where my story had let me down. I scrolled down the e-mail to find the links for the three successful entries, my eyes searching for the First Place winning entry. I would start at the top. There it was:
Shorter Story Categories Stories up to 1000 words
Winners 1st Prize Street Kids Don’t Have Birthdays by Gill Sainsbury 2nd Prize Sackcloth and Ashes by Justin N Davies 3rd Prize Beneath the Arches by LindsayBamfield
To use that awful text speak that I hate, but which becomes part of daily life: OMG! How could I have missed that? The newsletter had arrived a full five days earlier and I had looked for my name without seeing it. I thought I had failed to make a longlist, let alone a shortlist. I thought I had failed. I had set out to win but I had expected to fail. I simply cannot describe that feeling, here I was determined not to let things get on top of me, determined to find an income stream from within my writing, and there it was, my first pay check. The first three words of the judge’s comments blew me away completely and the tears came hard and fast.
“Convincing, compelling and concise,”
I blubbed. The sense of relief that, is hope (see previous post) blossoming into belief, washed over and through me, it touched every molecule of my being and lit me up from within.
“I can do this; it is not just a dream.”
Does one success make me a successful author? No. Does one success make me believe I can be?
Thank you to every single child at Amani, you are my inspiration, you triggered my first paycheck, you have rescued me and restored my hope and together we travel toward our lives being transformed.
I will ride the tyre no matter how many times I fall off.