I’m one of those people who believes that things in life happen in the correct sequence. Whether we label them good or bad, fortunate or unfortunate, they happen in the sequence which will be most beneficial for the inner person. I don’t know if that sounds fatalistic. I don’t think of myself that way. I’m upbeat and optimistic. I believe we have to work our butts off to achieve what we want and although what we get may not be what we envisioned, it will be what is most beneficial for us.
I was reminded of this again recently when a friend with the right connections agreed to put a copy of “What Rough Beast” into the hands of the book reviewer for a major newspaper. And I mean a major newspaper, as in a circulation of a million or so and possibly a nationally syndicated circulation of several times that. Do you have any idea what impact a favorable review from such a person would mean? In short, a favorable review would mean, WOW! And that’s putting it mildly.
My friend was careful to remind me that there are no guarantees. I know that. First, there’s no guarantee that the book reviewer will actually read the book. Book reviewers, especially those who work for major publications, are inundated with requests to be reviewed. They have to set priorities and decide what they will read and when. She may or may not decide to read “What Rough Beast”. Second, there’s no guarantee that, if the reviewer reads the book, she will like it and publish a favorable review.
You know what? I’m not worried about either of those two things. I’m not worried that the reviewer might not read it, and I’m not worried that she might not like it. I am thrilled to death that a friend is going to bat for me. That’s a very special feeling.
I may have shared this next bit before. If I did, I’ll repeat it. Repetition is one of the privileges of age. I wrote “What Rough Beast” twenty years ago. Yep. Twenty years ago. It was the first of four novels I wrote between 1989 and 1993. A number of people read “What Rough Beast” and liked it. I sent it out to publishers but it didn’t get any traction, as they say. After awhile, I put it down. The mid 90s was a time of spiritual, emotional and financial turmoil in my life, and I stopped serious writing. The stories didn’t stop telling themselves to me, I just stopped trying to write them down. But the urge to write, the urge to tell stories, is something that can grip you relentlessly, and three years ago I started writing again.
This sequence of events spanning twenty plus years is not what I would have chosen, but it is what it is, and I believe it will turn out to be the most beneficial one for me as a person. And that’s a really good feeling.