aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

A repost from October 2006: Better enjoy your time on the ice

Yesterday at lunch, I walked over to the Lloyd Center Mall, which has an ice rink in the middle of it. As usual, one of the ice skaters, a nicely dressed man of about 30, stood out. Not because he was particularly talented (although he's not half bad, and he's certainly waaaay better than I will ever be). It's because he skates with a huge smile on his face. And whenever he lands a jump or sometimes just for skating backward he'll raise his hands for imaginary applause and nod, grinning. Sometimes he pumps his fists. You can practically hear the waves of clapping.

If you haven't seen him before, it's kind of startling. How often do we see such naked joy and pride? You'll see shoppers stare at him with their heads tilted to one side, trying to figure him out. They might look around the edges of the rink for the audience he is surely playing to. But it's not there.

And then you get it. If he ever did compete, it would be in Special Olympics.

But yesterday when I saw him, I thought, that's what I need to be like. My writing has been going really well lately. And the writing is the only thing I can control (and sometimes I can't even control that, especially if my life is too full). How editors react to it and whether someone will buy it is out of my control. Even how my agent will react isn't a given, although I know she will work with me on a rewrite if she doesn't like it. I can't control reviews, sales, award nominations (or the lack of them), events, etc. etc. Etc.

But I need to give myself permission to take joy and pride in what I do. It starts by writing what I want to spend months and months with, not what I think the market will buy. It continues with telling myself a story that is going to involve all my emotions. One that when I get up from the keyboard will make me grin. And then I'll bow my head and hear the imaginary applause.
Tags: inspiration
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