A few weeks ago, another writer, soon to be author, (yay Averil!!) wrote a post titled “GOTHAM.” http://averildean.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/gotham/ In this piece, Averil talked about her “masked man” coming in to help with her writing, like a caped crusader zooming in and saving her in her writing world, a person she views as her mentor.
Today, I’d like to share with you a similar story with a few slight differences. Regardless of how we writers/authors view the people who come into our lives, all and any who help us on this journey are a blessing, and even when we can’t understand the how or the why of how it came to be, does it really matter? No.
Let me start by saying that after my recent set back, I was determined, (make that bound and determined) to put what happened behind me and to move on. But, that didn’t make it easy. A lot of doubt remained and if I’m being honest, there could have been even more of it than before. When I sat down and opened up the new Word doc last week, I wrote quite a bit, and I’d described it as if it had been written by someone else. I couldn’t say if it was good or bad. (i.e the doubt monster) I know we have to take the criticism and focus on the good parts (IF there are any) and then flip it into something positive. But there’s this thing, called “automatic thoughts.” (thank you, Dr. Phil) And if our brain hears something, or reads something, (i.e. a bad editorial review), sometimes we start to obsess about it, and…, well, it can become ever present in our minds, chipping away at the good, and no matter how hard we try to turn it around, those automatic thoughts are persistent. And, they have NO problem with replay. No problem whatsoever.
A few days went by, and then, I had this incredible opportunity come to me, like a divine intervention. There I was, staring up out of this hole I’d fallen into, willing to climb out and dust myself off, but I couldn’t find a ladder, and, there wasn’t any rope in sight. And then? There was one, or maybe I should say someone. Let me also say, this person will remain anonymous. I will refer to them, not as the caped crusader, or rescuer, although both fit really well, but instead, as “The Magician.” The magician comes with rabbits, and hats, and cards, and handkerchiefs and a load of other tools, hidden up their sleeve. The magician comes with wit, humor, experience, knowledge, insight, clarity and well, what I see as plain fucking magic. (and many of us know when things happen that we can’t explain, we say, it was FM, or fucking magic.” And that’s how this seems to me)
As they put it, we are, “hevruta,” and this is an, “Old world term from the days of yeshiva. But the meaning is something like “partner.” But it is also so much more than that. It is someone who you study with, grow with, and share with. There is no master and student in hevruta. It is two people, who spend hours together, cracking teeth. And like any relationship, there are differences. Maybe one of you comes in with more Hebrew, or better instincts, or more background. And sometimes you agree. And sometimes you don’t.”
This is where we start, as hevruta. This is the beginning, the roots of our relationship. The foundation, the brick and mortar, the cement, the ground where we stand, in this moment and going forward. We are in this together, we are two people who find themselves parallel in our writing journey, both with agents, both with completed manuscripts that have been on submission, and both working to improve our craft, wanting to improve.
I’ve just changed channels and tuned into this FM station. And what I’m hearing is loud and clear, waves of this and that, and it was there, hidden by the noise of doubt, uncertainty, and questions. Always questions. Like agent Betsy Lerner said when she aptly titled her book about writers, THE FOREST FOR THE TREES, sometimes, we can’t see the forest for the trees. Sometimes we need to be shown the path out. Sometimes we need somebody else, who is in the game too, a willing partner to “crack teeth” with, to work with. I’ve needed a critique partner, a writing friend for a LONG time. Someone stepped forward. I couldn’t be happier.
My question today is, have you found your FM channel yet?