Silk’s Post #64 – There are only nine more sleeps until I wake up on Christmas morning and find out what Santa has brought me. I’ve been so good all year – well, mostly good, most of the time – I hope he brings me the gifts I’ve been wishing for.
Wishing really hard.
Just on the off-chance that Santa might not be totally tuned-in to the needs of a struggling writer, I thought maybe I should, you know, give him a few little hints. Can’t hurt, right? Especially because the things I’m dreaming of aren’t the ordinary kitchen gadgets, or sweaters. No jewels, please. Don’t even bother with electronic gizmos. In fact, what I want for Christmas isn’t really ‘stuff’ at all.
So here’s my list. Santa has a week to wrap my presents up and get them in that bag of his, and I sure hope he hasn’t run out of any of these yet …
1. First of all, I really, really, really want some more time. In fact, if you happen to have seen me be slightly bad at that party (yeah, I know, you see me when I’m sleeping and know when I’m awake, but the song didn’t really say anything about parties) … well, anyway, if you caught my act and, in your wisdom, should decide I only deserve one present this year, please make it this one. I’ll take it any way you deliver it … 28 hour days would work for me. Or an extra month a year would be great (if so, could you make it a summer month?). But if you’re really feeling generous, my first choice would be 8-day weeks. And I promise, Santa, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die, that I will spend every single extra minute you give me next year on writing.
2. I’m a little embarrassed to say this, Santa, but I really do need some extra discipline and concentration. Really, it’s the perfect Christmas gift for a writer like me. I almost put it at the top of my list, but then what good is discipline and concentration if you don’t have enough time? If you could just give me a little more of both time and discipline, I’d be
damn (oops) darn near unstoppable. And I’m not greedy – I know a lot of writers are probably asking for the same thing – but I hope you have enough to go around. Um … if you wanted to throw in a bonus present (okay, maybe I’m just a little bit greedy), I’d be thrilled with an extra dollop of resolve.
3. Now, I know I’m lucky to have both a left brain and a right brain, and don’t think I’m not grateful. But maybe this Christmas you could bring me an upgrade to my mental operating system so all my brain parts will work in coordination with each other. You know, get my imagination functioning when I need it … keep my curiosity from wandering off into Wikipedialand … keep my internal editor under control … activate my organizational mind when it’s time to plot. Surely someone up there in the workshop has been busy getting the bugs out of writers’ brain software? Well I’d really love to have the latest and greatest version.
4. I’m not the kind of woman who likes to wrap herself in mink, but I do wish I had something else to wrap myself in … namely, a thicker skin. I mean, I can roll with the punches – and my dear 5writers friends can throw them sometimes, believe me – but with all this extra time and discipline I hope you’re bringing me, I’m absolutely sure I’ll have a third-draft manuscript ready for market before you know it. And you can guess what comes next. The queries. And the rejection slips. So, just thinking ahead here, I would really love you to bring me a little extra padding. Not rhino hide – I mean, I still have to maintain some sensitivity, right? And definitely nothing warty. But just a little bit thicker skin would be lovely, thanks.
5. Santa, if you’re still reading this, I’m gonna go for broke here and ask for one more gift. I know that genies and magic fairies and the like usually draw the line at three wishes … but hey, you’re Santa Claus! The greatest and jolliest old elf of all, right? And the most generous. Also quite handsome. So, uh, here it is … I wish you would bring me some courage. Now, if you’re watching me all the time like they say – checking out whether I’ve been bad or good, etc. – you know I’m no shrinking violet. I try to stand up for myself and for what’s right. Some people have actually called me ‘assertive’. Cute. I know I already have the courage to succeed, I have a decent track record on that.
What I need now is the courage to fail. Success is child’s play compared to failure. And people my age (that is to say, the age when we start thinking of ourselves as ‘old enough to know better’) seem to think that failure is for kids. We like our comfort levels and our status quos, see? Maybe we swallow down our hunger – our passion – just a little bit. And maybe we … well, we pull our punches sometimes. Pretend this second-career writing thing is really just a hobby. Who wants to step into the heavy traffic of brutal competition when you don’t have to? You could get killed out there!
So that’s what I need the courage for. Courage to fail, and not care. To keep stoking my own fire anyway.
So that’s it, Santa! I know I’ve given you a bit of heavy lifting here, but I hope you’ll agree I’ve earned it. Okay, what I haven’t earned yet I’ll pay you back in future good behaviour. With interest.
Thanks Santa, you’re my hero.
PS – Just to make it a little easier, you don’t need to wrap all this stuff.