Maybe it’s a blessing. Maybe it’s a curse. The ability to walk wounded. To find the silk purses among the pile of sow’s ears.

I am plagued with a talent for resiliency. Out of despair grows a passage; out of rejection, perspective and direction. These are the middle-of-the-night swims toward the emotional lifeboat. The sorties on the marathon swim toward making the work better.

In book terms, these are not backward strokes. At least, I can’t look at them this way. These are hard-won perspectives that assimilate what I hear in the attempt to spin that rough straw into gold.

Mary Doria Russell generously shared her feelings about her rejections on the way to en enduring success. So, out of recent rejection, I will also try to find the immediate lesson, the stronger book, the more intriguing characters, the stepped-up pace, the raised jeopardies. Qualities that will not muddy but richen what’s there. A hard-eyed look at self that may stave off some harder responses later.

Where do we find resiliency like that? In a notably non-Pollyanna life like mine, is it born into the writer or fought for? Certainly, they don’t exist in isolation…they are fed not by a steadfast belief in one’s own talent, but by the gifts of dear friends…the faith offered by others when one’s own supply is spent.

The temporary setback of one book can grow the next one. It’s bizarre but it’s true. We tread water n the deep end of the ocean. Not to move forward, necessarily. But so we don’t drown.

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