Dear ReadersPosted: June 22, 2012
It has been a good week. Three colleagues and two friends have just happened to mention how much they enjoyed this blog. There is nothing like feeling appreciated to cheer me up.
If you paint, you can always hang your work on your wall or give it to friends. If you sing, you can enjoy your own voice even in the shower. Writers seem to need readers to make the activity seem valuable.
I have written seriously for about 45 years. The first ten years were tough because I would send stories out and they came back with nice rejection letters. Then I sold a novel and it was never published. It felt so close but even though I could taste it, I never got there.
During those ten years, I learned to tough it out in the face of rejection and I learned my craft. I was not happy and I did not get what I wanted from writing but, in retrospect, I know I wanted much more than to be a successful writer.
Now I know I wanted the moon with a red ribbon on it and, what’s more, I wanted to get it by telling the world how sensitive and unhappy I was. That was a path that may have worked for a few talented souls – Dostoevsky and a couple of others – but most writers find it is an alley that leads to a dead end.
I wanted too much from writing. I wanted to feel good about myself. I wanted to be proud of myself. I wanted to be recognized by others as a valuable human being. I wanted to see myself as a valuable human being. Most of all, I wanted to be loved.
I did eventually get to love myself and take pride in my work but I didn’t get there by complaining. When I got sober, I returned to Science of Mind and I found a new voice as a writer. I became very purposeful and successful. I wrote 80 books for teens, both fiction and non-fiction.
If you read them, you may find bits and pieces of me in them but mostly, they were about kids’ dreams and what they could learn along the way. The one that sold the most was about a girl who used visioning and hard work to become a cheerleader. The one I am proudest of is about a girl who was a slave during the Civil War and escaped to go North.
The non-fiction was about anything from how to be a teenage model to the building of the atomic bomb.
I know I was a writing success in the outer world. What can be more successful than being on the NY Times best seller list for 30 weeks? I also know I am very fortunate that I was immersed in Science of Mind and a 12 Step program or I might have been lost again. I needed more than writing success to get what I wanted in life.
My 12 Step Program taught me about gratitude, being in service, and the value of a supportive group. I learned the wisdom of knowing the difference between what I could control and what I had to accept.
Science of Mind built on that wisdom and helped me achieve my dreams. I learned that life was not a struggle but a joy, and that I had intrinsic value as a human being.
The books that I wrote after I became a Religious Science minister brought me much closer to my original aims of loving and appreciating myself. Science of Mind Skills combined my deepest beliefs with my ability to teach others. It is still selling very well and I think it now qualifies as a classic.
Wise Women don’t worry, Wise Women don’t sing the blues, felt like a big risk but it paid off. I began each chapter with a small scene from my own life and then I used that story to tell my readers what I thought women needed to hear.
I think it was with Wise Women that I really found my own true voice. I let my readers know I was an alcoholic, that I’d had a very peculiar childhood, and that I’d had some early heartbreaks. I also told a bit about the eleven year affair I had with a married man. Those little vignettes certainly broke the mold of what I thought most people imagined a “New Thought minister” should be.
I was glad I took the risk. I was happy the book was received so well. I was thrilled by the number of women who attended workshops and weekends over the years.
In retrospect, I am proud of all my writing. I am even proud of those ten long years when I persevered in the face of rejection. I still love to say, “I used to write for the New Yorker …but they didn’t buy.”
Which brings me back to this blog. I would like to have many more readers and I am proud of the ones I have. The real joy of this adventure is that I write whatever is on my mind. I am happy when others tell me they find it valuable. I’m always pleased when people take the time to write a comment. I love feeling connected to a wider world.
People’s lives change and my goals have modified and grown saner in the last 45 years but I appreciate it when someone pays me a compliment. We all want to feel valuable.
If you are reading this, please know that I value you very much. Thank you for being in my life and I am glad I am in yours.
What makes you feel valuable?
Do you want to forward this blog to anyone?