Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Prairie Grl Apologizes For Nellie Olsen Past

Last week I was the Nellie Olsen of my children's literature writing class, only missing sausage curls and oversized bows.  I was annoyed with my classmates for talking editors and publishers on Day 1 because I didn't seem to have one viable idea.  Then I behaved "badly."  (Make sure you read last Thursday's post, "Prairie Girl Shunned" for the complete dish.) 

Yes.  I fully understand, it IS more glamorous to imagine book signings and royalties than to soul search if an orange, dog-like cat can propel a plot forward.  It is also more glamorous to imagine having kids, rather than actually having them.  Oh the daydreams I had about being a mother who gently guided her perfectly dressed children through the twist and turns of life with grace and wisdom.  But, I digress. 

I needed to get over myself and listen to my classmate's stories. 

One classmate missed two days because her husband was diagnosed with colon cancer the day our class started.  Still she showed up the three days she could and wrote a story about a log cabin builder and a bird.  

Another classmate was undergoing major testing for serious health problems at the University of Wisconsin  Hospital.  She quietly told me she was in severe pain by the end of class, but still needed to write.  She showed up every day and wrote the sweetest bedtime poem about lambs.  (She also shares my passion for buying ultra-fine writing pens at the University Book Store.) 

In the middle of the week, our fearless instructor took her 23-year- old-son to his final leukemia treatment.  She showed up every day and taught me so much about writing children's literature.  Her teaching style was both no nonsense and encouraging.  A hard line to walk.

At the beginning of the week, I thought it was me who was daring greatly by stepping out of my box and greeting my perfectionistic leanings.  Nope, it wasn't me daring greatly, Prairie Friends.  It was my classmates who were daring greatly.   They showed up to practice their craft, even if their hearts were breaking.  Even if their bodies were in pain.  Even if their minds were wandering.   

Lesson learned.  We all can live a creative life in the life we have.  Thank you writer friends (and I hope your writings are snatched up soon by an editor). 

Prairie Eydie

P.S.  Here is your quote:

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.”
Anne Lamott

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