If you fell down yesterday, stand up today

by JoslynChase in Challenges, Learning, Writing

Stories are about conflict, and life imitates art. Sigh.

I’m embracing this sentiment expressed by H.G. Wells, as it seems I’m getting knocked down hard over and over in recent months. When I was in college, I became very ill and went to the doctor. He said I had a bad case of tonsillitis and needed my tonsils removed, but that my wisdom teeth were also impacted and before the tonsils could come out, the wisdom teeth had to go.

So, I went to the oral surgeon. He told me I had badly impacted wisdom teeth, but that my swollen tonsils were in the way and before he could remove the teeth, the tonsils had to go. In the meantime, I was miserable, falling behind in school, missing work, and hemorrhaging money. Worse, there seemed no way to move forward.

I made it through that challenge.

I still have my tonsils, but lost all my wisdom teeth. Seems like I could sure use some wisdom now in dealing with my current situation. It reminds me of those old college days.

During the past four years we spent in Germany, our house in Washington sat neglected. We knew it would need work when we returned, but we had no idea of the magnitude of the problems. We arrived in January, during one of the worst winters Washington has seen in a while. It’s been cold, with almost constant rain and snow. Our heating system is busted, our windows are 1970s aluminum with blown seals, and the roof is leaking. Living here is like camping. I’m wrapped in layers of coats and blankets, huddled around a space heater to do my writing. Still—after two months in the house.

The problems we’re running into are like my old college woes.

My house doesn't look this bad--it just feels like it does.

At least it’s not this bad!

We need a new heat pump, but the reason the old one failed after only six years is something to do with faulty duct work that needs to be rectified first, and that can’t be fixed until… And so on. And, of course, all this needs to be financed somehow.

The gutters are broken so that rain pours down under the house. The front porch has disintegrated so that a stream of water from the defunct gutter system runs right down under the porch into the ceiling of the garage, which has turned black and bulgy. Rodents have invaded the attic, one of the garage doors refuses to respond to orders, the backyard fence has fallen down, and don’t even think about walking on the spongy deck.

You may be thinking this list is extensive, but I could go on for another paragraph or two. I don’t bring this up just to rant, although reading back over this, I can see I’ve done just that…sorry. My point is, our house has good bones, we will come through this and, in the end, our house will be better and stronger. And so will we.

I’m relating this to my writing.

I’ve been writing, submitting, and struggling under these conditions, but haven’t had a story accepted by a publisher since we left Germany. Worse, the story I was so thrilled about being accepted by one of my all-time favorite magazines didn’t appear as scheduled. A copy error for which I received apologies from the editor, but that didn’t do much to raise my crushed spirits or the feeling that I’m being persecuted by bad luck.

So, I’m down. But I’m not out.

As a writer, I have good bones, I will come through this and, in the end, I will be better and stronger. My experiences will serve me well, expanding my understanding and broadening the emotional palette I draw upon for my work. To those who accompany me on this adventure, I say be of good cheer. We’re in the valley now, but we shall rise to the summit! I’m aware that sounds corny, but I truly believe the sentiment. Thanks for sticking with me.

If you haven’t signed up for my reader’s group, get on board now–we can only go up from here and you’re going to want to be along for that! I’m actually really excited about what’s to come this year, so stay tuned. Also, if you want to learn more about the secret solution to life problems, read the last blog I posted.

What experiences have you been through and come out the better and stronger for it?

One Response to “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today”

  1. JoslynChase says:

    Hi everyone,

    I wanted to give you the update on the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine situation. About three hours after I published this post, I got an email from the AHMM editor. She told me they’d just discovered that a batch of the issue went out with the misprint, and they didn’t know the extent of the error, but that the issues they had in the office did, indeed, feature my story. They’ll be sending me some copies containing my story, so that’s something to be happy about.

    But I subscribe to the magazine on Kindle, and I don’t know if there’s any way to fix it so that my Kindle copy won’t always and forever carry the error. I was looking forward to having a portable and ever-present source I could pop out and show people. Ah well, I’ll just have to get some more stories published in the magazine!

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