I gave my second novel WARNING: SOMETHING ELSE IS HAPPENING its final going-over this today, tweaking things. Readers do not know, and likely would not believe, how hard it is to get things right when you really want to get things right. You see everything, and you are driven.
Fourteen or fifteen uploads at Smashwords, working working working the synopses and back matter, fixing this and that—none of the work on salary and much of it done while tired—that’s where you end up when you work on making something that matters to you.
“This is my letter to the world,” Emily Dickinson wrote, referring to her poetry. A book is one kind of letter. Today, my massage therapist told me about another kind.
The color of caring
A couple months ago, she and her husband saw a story on the eleven o’clock news about a family that had lost everything when a fire started in their slummy apartment building. This was the second time they had lost everything; the first was during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. On the basis of the TV news story, my massage therapist and her husband decided they were going to help that family.
Caring is a long and winding road. They own a small house in a small town north of the city that a renter had trashed and then abandoned, owing several months of rent. They decided they were going to make that house habitable again and that homeless family was going to live there.
They made it happen. They got donations from friends and church members, and put in sweat equity, and made it happen. These are not wealthy people. It is important to understand that.
Today, she said that someone had given her ten dollars and she had gone to a consignment shop and to Goodwill and gotten two Christmas trees, which they were going to take out to the family this weekend. She also said that she and her husband had bought an old U-Haul truck with 94,000 miles from a used car dealer who had it on his lot for years.
They bought the truck because they have branched out to help other families (“five or six”).
This is what you do when you choose to love. Love does not rest. We are having miserable weather—cold, rainy, and icy—and that drive north to delivery the Christmas trees is likely going to be difficult. They are—I would bet my life on it—going to do it.
What I do is not as good as what they do. Our common ground is only that I understand the impulse that keeps you striving to get more and more right, at your own expense and with a painstaking, driven need to do it. This is not ego. It is about the work.
So my Yule for you wish is this: write love letters to the world, one way or the other. Use yourself up.