Years ago, when I had my second child, I wrote a lullabye. I have sung it to all of my children at one time or another. My two youngest girls ask for it by name if they have woken from a bad dream at night or if they just want a song before they go to bed. I rarely sing around anyone, though my husband wishes I would, as he says I have a pretty voice. But I have learned from watching American Idol tryouts, that just because someone has said so, it doesnt make it true! So I sing to my children by the glow of their night light, and occassionally for my husband at his request.
But for a long time now, I have wanted to have the lullabye published as a children's book. So, at the encouraging of my husband, I am going to attempt publication. I am very overwhelmed at the process, and frankly, quite scared! I emailed Karma Wilson, my favorite of current day children's authors, asking questions about her process to become a published writer. In her response email she was very encouraging, but also realistic. She attempted to get her most known work, (and the first of my favorite "series" of children's books) "Bear Snores On" published for several years. Attempt after attempt was for not. But in spite of continuous refusal letters, she plodded forward. She even re-sent her manuscript to some of the same publishing houses. After several years, one of the first publishing houses she contacted (repeatedly) accepted her manuscript. It is now one of the most well known current day children's books! She told me that she likes to tease her editor about what he would have missed if it hadnt been for her persistence. She has gone on to write follow ups to the "Bear" books and several other books as well. She told me that Children's litterature is the hardest type of litterature to get published because the industry is satturated with manuscripts. But she went on to say that if I have something special, to keep submitting it, moving forward, and never give up.
Of course I think I have something special, as do my children, and my husband. But will the publishing world? How will I know when enough is enough? When do I throw in the towel and be ok with the dream remaining a dream. After so much effort, if I never get published, will I be able to accept the rejection of something so dear to me, something that is a part of me. To others it may seem like only words on paper, but to me it is a full expression of my love for my children. It is deep and full of emotion. My fear isnt so much of trying, its of failing and feeling trampled. As if my feelings or I are not good enough. I am afraid of the rawness of the wound and the anguish of rejection. Like Anna Nalick says in her beuatiful song, "Breathe (2am)"
'And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to"
It's a scarey place to be, trapped between a dream and fear of rejection. If I dont try, I have already failed and the wound is the lack of acting on a dream, the wondering of what could have been, and the "I could kick myself for not trying" kind of feeling. If I do try and fail, well, that wound has already been addressed. And even if I do try and succeed, like the typical artist, the wound is the revealing of the souls most inner depths, the nakedness Anna Nalick describes. Yet despite it all, it is still a dream to have part of myself out there, published. I have not accomplished anything that I have set out to do so far in my life. I have always been a quitter. I wasnt interested in putting forth any effort for anything, really. And in my younger years, I felt like I could play now and work later. I dont have time for that anymore. The luxury of youth is slipping away and the "Dawn of the Middle-Aged Grown up" isn't on the horizon....it is here! So now, the hard work begins. Wish me luck....I am afraid I will need it!