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The Starting Line

Disappointment is part of being an author. When I was in grad school, my mentor, A.J. Verdelle, handed us a photocopied chart of the emotional rollercoaster in the life of an artist. When another professor, Bill Lychek, said to the students, “If you can do something else, do it.” I thought it was hyperbole. They were just being dramatic. After all, I knew difficulty. I was accustomed to hurdles and roadblocks. I’d been, for lack of a better term, a roadie for most of my adult career.

Now, several years down the road, I realize Verdelle and Lycheck were trying to prepare us.

The publication of my first novel was exhilarating. When my second novel was accepted, I believed I was well on my way. Two years later, as my historical novel languishes at the press with no publication date in sight, I’m considering ending my contract and moving on. Starting over.

Last weekend I ran a half marathon up in the beautiful Methow Valley where the sun beat down relentlessly and I nearly passed out from insufficient electrolytes. I sang joyfully to Alicia Key’s “That Girl is on Fire”, bemoaned the heat with Morphine’s “Cure for Pain”. There were blissful moments under the trees where I felt high on endorphins, and equally as many despairing climbs up dusty hills.

That grueling race paralleled my path as an author. I did make the finish line eventually.

It wasn’t pretty, but I made it.

So, as I continue to search for a publisher for my middle grade fantasy novel, I am now also starting over with my historical novel. This is my path. Disappointing, but not impossible.

Time to train for my next race.

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Anita Gail Jones
Anita Gail Jones
May 11, 2023

Tavi✨ Speak truth. Speak! Really enjoyed this piece. Thanks for writing it. I know the Verdelle photocopy you reference: Kempton's Chronology of Composition. More truth. It's a good reminder that endurance is the greatest virtue for any artist. Glad to get an update and that you've decided to maintain course. Don't deny us your stunningly unique voice.

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