Bender pondered the wine in his hand. “A writer needs four things to achieve greatness, Pasquale: desire, disappointment, and the sea.”
“That’s only three.”
Alvis finished his wine. “You have to do disappointment twice.”
I share this passage from Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter, not because I believe it to be the absolute truth (I don’t), but rather because when I read it, I believed the character Alvis was actually talking to me.
While I accomplished three writing goals in 2013 that I am very proud of – I put a ribbon on a novel, finished the first draft of another, and reached 200 blog posts – I must confess that I will leave this year with a sense of disappointment.
Candidly, I’ve realized that the ribbon I put on my first book was premature. I knew I had more work to do, I just hadn’t realized how much more. The disappointment stems, not from the early mornings the “more” will require, but rather from a lack of closure when, in 2014, all I really want to do is move on – write other stories, cut new ribbons.
Deep down, I know the only way to move on is to finish my first book, the right way: to write like nobody’s reading. I need to trust the lessons I’ve learned, and allow my words to fall onto the page. I’ll know when it’s done, just like I knew when it wasn’t. And when it is done, I’ll need to let it be, whether that’s cause for a second round of disappointment shouldn’t really matter.
I also need to allow myself to enjoy the year’s accomplishments, which I intend to do tonight with a Zin as big as the glass it’s in (that’s big).
I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to tell stories, and in 2014 I plan to allow myself the privilege. To do that, I’m prepared to dedicate myself to the path and walk heavy footed to wherever it may go. And that brings me back to Alvis – I think he missed something critical in all this: family and friends.
There would be no greatness to strive towards, disappointment to share, or desire to formulate, without my family and friends. They make it all worth it. With that, thank you all, for supporting me on this long journey – by reading and commenting on my posts, by asking about “that book” I’ve been talking about for years, now, and by simply being there for me when I needed you the most.
May 2014 bring you happiness and the right words – some of which, hopefully, provided by me.