Day 223: what if you didn’t stop?

11 Aug

Today I cried.
Not sobbing, heaving kinds of tears.  More like a deep breath with a big sigh followed by waterworks.

They gathered in the corners of my eyes while reading the last few paragraphs of this article from MORE Magazine:  Kathryn Stockett’s ‘The Help’ Turned Down 60 Times Before Becoming a Best Seller

Turned. Down. 60. Times.
That’s brutal.  That is unbelievable.  That’s some kind of miracle to keep pushing through rejection letter after rejection letter.

But, it’s not new news to me.
It sounds so familiar.

I am one lucky girl, to spend my working days around Debbie Phillips with Women on Fire.  If you ever have the chance to spend some time with Debbie, you, too, will hear what I do all the time:  “Don’t Stop Before The Miracle.”

Debbie reminds me of this Marianne Williamson saying all the time.  Don’t Stop Before The Miracle.  It could be a ground rule, or an operating principle, or even gospel, during our working days. (I actually wrote about it on Day 88)

So, this concept, you see, is not news to me. 
I know the special magic formula on NOT giving in, pushing through, keeping at it.  It is ingrained in my psyche.  It is also Debbie’s continuous support and gentle reminder of that miracle that helps me write everyday on this blog.

But I cannot imagine receiving 60 rejection letters.
I get to play it safe here in Blog-O-Land.  I can write and write and write (EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.) but I don’t have to face rejection letters.  I just push a button, and voilà!   Published.

But Kathryn Stockett, she is the real deal.  She served her time, paid her dues to the Rejection Fairy  — and in the end, showed us that we can live with rejection affection and still come out on top.  Actually MORE than on top!

In Kathryn’s own words:

In the end, I received 60 rejections for The Help. But letter number 61 was the one that accepted me. After my five years of writing and three and a half years of rejection, an agent named Susan Ramer took pity on me. What if I had given up at 15? Or 40? Or even 60? Three weeks later, Susan sold The Help to Amy Einhorn Books.

And, that question – WHAT IF – is what I hold in my heart tonight. 
WHAT IF Kathryn had given up at letter #15, or #40, or #60.  We would have all missed out on her story, on her unique characters and their charm, and ultimately her gift to the world.

Thank you Debbie, for continuously reminding me of THE MIRACLE.
Thank you Kathryn, for showing us (quite amazingly) that we can do anything we set our minds to and the miraculous power of not giving up.

And, of course, for making me cry.
Because, today, while I did cry, my tears were not of sorrow.
They were of inspiration and appreciation of how one woman made her miracle happen.

Give in to the shame of being rejected and put your manuscript—or painting, song, voice, dance moves, [insert passion here]—in the coffin that is your bedside drawer and close it for good … Or you could do what this writer did: Give in to your obsession instead.

Here’s to all of our crazy, undying, deserved obsessions hiding out in bedside drawers and tucked away in boxes.

WHAT IF they saw the light?
What miracle could they become?

5 Responses to “Day 223: what if you didn’t stop?”

  1. Debbie Phillips August 12, 2011 at 11:07 AM #

    Thank you, dear Jamie!! And, for continuously inspiring me with your daily doses of goodness and light, creativity and perserverence. You are such an awesome presence in my life and the world of Women on Fire!

  2. Debbie Phillips August 12, 2011 at 11:08 AM #

    Thank you for this beautiful piece, Jamie. I am deeply honored to be your colleague and grateful for your role in Women on Fire!

    • Jamie August 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM #

      The honor is all mine!

  3. Carrie Saba August 12, 2011 at 12:02 PM #

    Thank you Jamie for sharing this! What an inspirational story and I am so glad you shared it with us. I will remember this going forward for sure – and I love Debbie’s “Don’t Stop Before the Miracle” . . . another one to remember. In fact, I am going to put that on a post it note by my computer right now! Thanks again Jamie – beautiful and inspiring post!

    • Jamie August 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM #

      Thank you Carrie, for all of your inspiration! I loved Joyce O’Brien’s book too. What a great recommendation! TY. xo~Jamie

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