06 November 2011


Today we had another family get-together. This was the other side of my family, making up for the one we didn't do for Thanksgiving (my uncle had to work that day).

This side of the family is usually a lot of fun. And today was no different. We played games and talked and made jokes and laughed and ate and I just tried not to say anything too harsh (it's gotten me in trouble here before).

It was great fun.

Then, as everyone was leaving, my grandmother said, "Now Kate will wash the dishes, right?"

I shrugged. I probably wouldn't get around to it, even though there weren't that many.

"No," my mother said, "she's probably got a few thousand words to write yet."

I nodded.

My aunt asked, "How many novels have you written so far?"

Before I could answer my grandmother said, "None. It's not a novel until it's published."

...Well. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

She should have slapped me across the face and followed up with a punch to the gut. It would have stung less.

Especially in the wake of the words she'd spoken earlier that day... she had hugged me and told me she loved me just the way I was.

Just the way I am, huh?

But only as long as 'just the way I am' means I sell out Broadway and get televised worldwide on my first foray into the 'professional' dance world. It means I write 'The End' at 50,000 words of rough draft and get a multimillion dollar publishing contract two days later. It means I sing one solo for church and get inducted into the Music Hall of Fame. It means I get paid a quarter million a month just to breathe.

That is the definition of 'just the way you are.'

But these things take time. I have to revise the novels and send them out. I have to compose and write down the choreography and assemble the costumes. I have to find other dancers to perform this with, for the love of applesauce. I have to keep practicing singing and develop my stage presence and grow my repertoire (not to mention my audience).

I thought old people were the patient ones. The slow-and-steady-wins-the-race ones.

How successful do I have to be? Isn't it enough that I'm doing what I'm pretty sure God has called me to and that I'm enjoying it, even if only ten people see my work?

If I have to earn your love it's not worth it.


Anonymous said...

I know some people like this. Personally I am fortunate and all the family that I actually have to deal with for any length of time are pretty supportive of my pursuits. Some of my "friends" however are not supportive and give me grief about my writing, art and travels. Even when it makes no sense that they should be acting like douche bags, they do.

Some people get insecure when others do things that they don't feel confident enough to do. You are a good writer and it sounds like you are good at many other things too. Your Grandmother probably feels bad that she wasn't blessed with as many talents as you are or took the time to develop her interests when she was younger, as you are doing.
It's tough but try not to let it get you too down. =D

Kate said...

This is very kind of you... Thank you. I appreciate it. :-)

esbboston said...

Some people are so '9-5 M-F work work work at a real job 47 years then die' that they have no concept of what goes on in the entertainment industry, how difficult it is to be commercially successful. I am constantly surrounded by people in real life who don't understand the writing process, and finding a poet is a rarity. I have so many things floating through my head at various levels of completion. Your grandmother is so wrong about the concept that something has to be published before its a novel. Look at the life of Van Gogh, commercially unsuccessful during his life but certainly an artist. Look at the life and work of Stieg Larsson. Definitely a novelist there! But what if he had died just a little bit sooner and there would have been no one to discover/publish his works? Would that have made him 'not a real novelist'? No, the novels were still there, and now there are even movies.