Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Letting Go

     Letting go is not my strong suit.  For example, I'm still driving the first car I bought with my own money.  Now, I'm not a car person.  I never have been.  The main thing I like about my current car is that it starts every time, and fills up for about $30 a gallon, (something I do every three weeks or so). So, we've got a low-maintenance synergy thing going on, and it's been working.

     But lately...I've been wondering.  What do heated leather seats feel like?  How would it be to not fret every time it snows?  Is it time to sign the Do Not Resuscitate order?
     "Mom, your car smells funny," says my daughter one day (as she was eating and dropping popcorn in equal amounts in the back seat).  
     "I know," I say, "but it's the car I brought you home from the hospital in!"

     "Mom, your car is so small," says my son, complaining that I cannot take his friend home with us from a birthday party.
     "I know," I say, "but we can fit into almost any parking spot!"

     The fact that money does not grow on trees aside, I wonder why I'm so attached to this little, smelly vehicle.  
     I wonder the same thing about a little picture book manuscript that has been traveling around with me for two years.  After it's 12th revision and 5th rejection, it's starting to get a little smelly.  

     "Not everything gets published," says one of my critique group members.
     I know, but it's the story that started me on this path, I think.
     "Maybe you could re-work this for a parent's magazine," says an editor.
     I know, but if I could just (grunt) make it (grunt) fit (grunt) here, I think.

     I know there is a difference between giving up and letting go.  But I worry: if I let go of this manuscript, am I giving up on my dream?  And if I let go of this old car, am I giving up my link to the younger me, that part of my life that could still be called 'new' (new job, new mother, new wife)...?  

     Maybe I'll take that manuscript out for just one more spin before I admit to myself that the silence I'm hearing is the "click" of an ignition failure.  If I can get past this, I bet I'll love those leather seats!



  1. It is strange isn't it, how inanimate objects stand for ideas and times past. I struggled over giving away a stack of magazines this week, because they were the ones we turned to for inspiration when we built our house. I think that's how people become hoarders, so I let them go.
    Minivan in the near future? : )

  2. Now now, it's not as bad as that....

  3. Every piece of writing we do is a step in the journey. I wrote an entire novel that I knew would not be pubbed--and now I go back to that book and...erm...cannabalize it for ideas.

    Put this baby in a drawer for a bit maybe--it's not giving up. It's part of the nutty process. Move on to another project, maybe. When you take another look later, you may have a different outlook, a lightbulb moment. But, keep the faith! You can write--thats for sure!! :-)

  4. Thanks Lynda - your advice is spot on and just what I needed to hear. Thanks also for the generous compliment. : )

  5. Heated leather seats feel GREAT, Kate! Not that I am trying to brag or anything, no. But I have the perfect car that has that exact feature. My Hyundai Sonata has heated seats, which is ideal during winter. The best part of owning this car is getting all the perks when it only cost me $11,000.

    Ellsworth Mciltrot

  6. “Letting go is not my strong suit.”--- Me either and I think the others as well. Of course, you really can’t help but feel sad for something once you need to let go of it. The great memories that you have with it is priceless.

    Erwin Calverley