Today is June 24 and for most people it’s not a big deal day. It is for me since it’s the day my son was born. 14 years ago today. It’s his day. He gets a party with his family, cheesecake (that’s what he wanted!) and gifts. Birthdays are a lot of fun, particularly when you’re young. He’s having a sleepover this weekend with some of his friends and but first they’re going to the fair. Now that he’s older, I just drop him off and pay the money (since it’s his birthday, otherwise the fair would be on his dime).
But I like to reflect on my own celebration of his day. And as I do, I find myself thinking that we don’t take enough time to reflect on all the reasons we have to celebrate. Americans can be plagued by our Puritan roots. More Work! Less Play! Do Better! You got an A-? Why didn’t you get an A? That sort of thing can be an affliction…
It’s important to take some time to think of the positives. This happens to be a particular challenge for me since my family’s Puritan roots are deep and, for whatever reason, I grew up to be the sort of person who doesn’t look to the positive often enough. This, I have sworn, is something I hope to address for the rest of my life.
When I finish writing a book, for example, all I can see is everything there isn’t time to fix. I look at my revision letters and think, oh my gosh, I suck so bad. I should have seen all these problems and fixed them! And then there’s reviews. My June 2009 release from Grand Central Publishing, My Forbidden Desire got 4 1/2 stars and a top pick from Romantic Times. On the other hand, AAR gave the book a D and called my hero foul-mouthed and some other stuff I have elected not to refresh my memory on. (The reviewer was right, too, the hero of that book does drop the F-bomb a lot.) People’s opinions differ. One reviewer’s top pick is another’s D. The diversity is to be celebrated.
And I do embrace that diversity. It’s a good thing in the grander scheme of things. My own life, however, has a somewhat narrower scope and, naturally, I spend far too much time thinking about what I could have done to avoid a D instead of celebrating the success of a Top Pick from RT.
My goal is to celebrate a bit more. I’m not saying ignore the bad — it behooves a writer to pay attention to revisions and the internal editor and learn from those things. (My God, do you see what I’m up against here?) But we needn’t and shouldn’t forget to celebrate the good, too.
Who’s with me on that one? It’s my son’s birthday, and he is the joy of my life. And I do celebrate that. Every day. Even when he’s rolling his eyes, embarrassed that his mom is such a doof. My Forbidden Desire has gotten some wonderful reviews and you know what, it came out pretty darn good!
What will you celebrate today?
My husband is TOTALLY like you, Carolyn. I find myself also with the negativity sometimes, but today, I plan on reaching 25K with the WIP and celebrating by sending it to a friend for her feedback. Then I will move on to a new project that has me totally jazzed, and that is a way cool thought for me. So I’m celebrating meeting my goal.
This weekend we are hosting my son’s 10th birthday party–yes, 10 10 year-olds making their own sundaes. Oy. After, I’ll be celebrating with some wine.
Way to go on making your goal, Megan! And happy birthday to your son. A make-your-own-sundae party? You are a brave woman.
Carolyn, I’m currently reading My Forbidden desire, because I went in the B&N for Scandal and they were out. I’m really enjoying the book. An A+ from me! I love how you mentioned that the magekinds’ throwaway kids often become drug-addicted street urchins because they don’t understand their own sensitivity. I’m about 2/3 of the way thru the book.
That Puritan stuff can be heavy. I come from a line of prairie Puritans descended from Cotton Mather. Eek. If we’re not careful we become Stone People. 🙂
Happy Birthday to your son!
Carolyn, I’m always waiting for the hammer to fall. I’ve had an unexpected run of good luck lately, and I don’t trust it for a second, LOL.
I loved Scandal and am sure I’ll love the new book as well. I find it so discomfiting when reviews are all over the place—yes, reading is subjective, but somehow the range from A to D is a little weird. I read Mrs. Goggles today, who gave some poor author a 4—out of 100. Ouch ouch ouch. I almost dread my own publication, because if the reviews are less than kind, I’ll be bawling and drinking margaritas. Actually, that doesn’t sound so bad.
Carolyn, isn’t it so typical of us that we obsess about the one bad review and forget how many were positive.
I can remember the words “lackluster prose” given about one of my first books, but I don’t remember any positive phrases.
Gotta go to my website and refresh my memory!!
Happy Birthday to young Mr. Jewel!
It’s a great reminder to celebrate the good and let the bad go (which is such a hard thing to do). I’m a lot better at shrugging off bad reviews than I used to be, but it still stings quite a bit.
Today I wrote a whole chapter, which means the current project is nearly done, so I am going to celebrate by eating French fries! 🙂
Well earned fries!!!
Megan, I think you will be celebrating with a steam cleaner and some heavy duty cleaning if my memory of ten year old boys and ice cream serves!!
Carolyn, I happened to like Scandal, but as you said, you can’t please everyone! We do tend to hang on to the negative stuff for way too long. God knows I nearly let all of those failed auditions and the comments I received prevent me from flying to Austria and auditioning for the Mozart Academy. That would have been a HUGE mistake. Years later I have a pretty thick skin and that has helped me SO much on my writer’s journey!
I’ve been on a tight deadline these last months trying to finish my current WIP in time for Nationals per my agent’s request. Every day that I don’t make my word count I get so depressed and kick myself. I’m going to stop doing that. It just isn’t helpful. Yesterday I wrote over six pages and that was after working an 8 hour shift at Wal-Mart. I need to cut myself some slack and eat some raisinettes and then get right back to the keyboard!! A lady ordered a cake the other day and asked that we write JUST BECAUSE on it. That’s a woman who knows how to celebrate!
So here’s hoping we all take some time every week to eat that Just Because cake!! OR in the case of your son, Carolyn, that JUST BECAUSE cheesecake!
Hi:) Well, here in Quebec it’s ‘la Saint Jean’ or ‘La fete nationale’- big party time for French Canadians in Quebec. It’s the national holiday so everybody’s off:)
Love your post. Yes–we absolutely need to focus more on the positive!
Right now I’m celebrating a slow return to health! And my fabulous kids. And the fact that the school year is almost done. And my new hero–I love to fall in love with my heroes. 🙂
Hope the party went smoothly Megan!
Oh very nice celebrations everyone! Let’s all commit to celebrating more.