Tag Archives: Sympathy

In Need Of Some Spirit Glue

Well, that was a spirit breaker.

I don’t know if you dudes have noticed, but I’m a bit of a writer. (Perhaps you’ve heard of a little thing called A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook?)

Having worked as a newspaper reporter for the first part of my professional career, I equate writing with getting paid. I’m also a bit old so I’m a bit of a traditionalist. That means I want to sell my stories and books to an actual publisher (like Barry and I did with A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook) and get paid for it that way. I’m not all that into self publishing, although I do see it as a perfectly valid form of expression. It’s just not for me right now.

Because of that, I can’t just write something and toss it out to the public. I have to sell my work to someone in a publishing house, which means I face a lot of rejection. Seriously, dudes, I’m talking a lot of rejection.

Heck, compared to the writing career, my success with the ladies in high school and college was legen. . . . dary. That’s the level of rejection I and most writers tend to get from the traditional publishers.

Lately, however, I’ve been feeling pretty good. My critique group seems to like the book I’m working on with them. I managed to crank out a good-sized YA book in a couple of weeks and actually liked the result. I’m halfway through a middle grades book and also feeling good about it.

However, on Tuesday evening, I received an email from one of the larger publishers telling me, in essence, thanks but no thanks. What’s different about this one is that I was able to get my book directly into the hands of someone who works there, who, in turn, gave it to an editor.

Being rejected this time feels a bit more . . . solid.

In my brain, I understand this rejection is no different from any other. I know in my brain that not every story is for every person and I only need to find the right agent or publisher and they’ll love my work.

But, just for now, I’m feeling a bit like I’ve been wasting my time trying to write. That what I’ve just produced won’t be read by anyone but me. That I’m not going to succeed, by any definition of success that means anything.

Please, understand I’m not looking for sympathy. I’ll probably get over it.

My issue right now is that I’m pretty open with my young dudes. They knew that I was submitting a book to this big publisher. I’m going to tell them I got rejected, but I also want them to see me taking it in stride.

I have to set the right kind of example. I need them to internalize the idea that one setback (or 12 setbacks) isn’t enough to make them quit. Will never make them quit. I need them to know that the only thing that can make them quit is inside them already and they have control over that.

But, right now. . . It’s hard to set that sort of example. Knowing you’re good enough to succeed is a bit easier than finding the folks who will agree with you and can help you achieve that.

So I think I’m going to take a bit of a breather, get myself together before telling them about this rejection. I need to get my head in the right place so they can see I remain hard at work, that I’m not going to let this minor roadblock stop me. That I fell, but only so that I could learn to get back up.

After all, Tempus sanat omnia vulnera.

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Discharged

by Richard

This is really good news, dudes. Really good news.

It seems I’ve been discharged by my orthopedic surgeon. Which means that, barring any (more) unfortunate incidents, he doesn’t want to see me in his office complaining about my shoulder to him any more.

Woo-hoo!

You might remember, I had shoulder surgery on Dec. 17, 2010, almost a year ago. Before the surgery, the doctor didn’t think there would be all that much to do. Boy was he wrong. He ended up having to do a complete repair of the rotator cuff, staple the biceps tendon back into place and shave off part of my clavicle bone.

All of which made for a longer-than-expected recovery time. Of course, going through a GI bleed in which I lost so much blood that I kept passing out and falling to the floor whenever I stood up didn’t actually speed the recovery process at all. I kept passing out and I fell several times onto my recovering shoulder. Yeah, that one hurt.

Anyway, after far too many months of rehabilitation and visits to the doctor’s office, I’m finally free!

When I first got surgery and would be walking around with my arm in a sling, I got a lot of sympathy. People would talk about how getting rehab on their shoulder was the worst pain they ever went through. That really psyched me up to go in and start rehab. Here’s where you think I’ll agree with them, but you’d be wrong.

Sure, shoulder rehabilitation was painful, very painful, but it was nothing that can’t be overcome or worked through. Like most pain, it’s sharp and hard and then it fades away. Plus we did get some good drugs to help with that.

Anyway.

If you’re facing shoulder surgery, don’t let the naysayers get you down. Sure it’s going to hurt, but it’s nothing you can’t work through.

Now comes my reward. For the most part, I went under the knife for two reasons: a) when I tried to roll over onto my right side when I was asleep I’d wake up screaming in pain and II) I couldn’t throw the football with Hyper Lad anymore because moving the arm hurt too much.

I’m sleeping the night through, but the best part is yet to come. Tomorrow, when the rain stops and Hyper Lad gets home from school, he and I are going out into the front yard and we’re going to throw the football around.

It’s going to hurt a bit, but I don’t care. This is the thing that will make the pain worth it.

Discharged, dude. Never did a word sound so good.

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Shouldering The Load

by Richard

I get it. By jimminy, I get it. I really, really do. You dudes can all stop now. Please.

Here is a typical conversation with a stranger, pick a stranger. Basically anyone who I bump into during the course of my day. Anywhere. Anytime. Anyone.

“Hey, what’d you do to your arm? Shoulder?”

Me: “Shoulder,” trying to move on because I know what’s coming.

Stranger: “Rotator cuff?”

Me: sighing, “Yeah, among other stuff. Had the biceps tendon reattached and had some of my clavicle bone shaved off.”

Stranger: “Wow.”

Me: “Yeah,” trying to leave, but knowing it won’t work.

Stranger: “You know, a (insert relationship here; friend, relative, acquaintance) of mine had that kind of thing. He said it was the most pain he’d/she’d ever gone through. I mean, it’s agony on wheels.”

Me: “So I’ve heard. I’m doing all right, though.”

Stranger: “You must not have started the physical therapy yet. Boy, that’s when the pain really kicks in. I mean, she/he told me she/he was crying like a baby every time she/he went to physical therapy. And it kept hurting all the time. For months. Said it was like having a knife jammed in there and then stirred around for good luck.”

Me: wincing in anticipation and starting to feel sympathy pains for my future self, “Um, yeah. Thanks for sharing.”

Stranger: “No, really. I mean, he/she had (insert some horrible, appallingly invasive surgery or medical procedure here) and he/she said that was nothing compared to getting his/her shoulder done and the rehab after.”

Me: feeling nauseous all over again, “Uh, yeah. Thanks for sharing. Again.”

Finally feeling my oats enough to be rude, that’s when I turn around and walk away. Very, very quickly. And normally bump my shoulder into something hard and unforgiving.

So, yes. I get it. I understand that it’s painful. I also know I don’t need to be reminded — constantly — of that fact. You’d think people would get the hint.

Unless — you don’t suppose? — it’s some sort of conspiracy, maybe. Maybe they are all out to get me. That must be it. I’m sure of it. You’re all trying to hurt me. I see it all so clearly now. I —

UPDATE: I’ve cut down on the meds a bit now and I think I should be all better. Just sort of ignore the previous. I know that’s what I’m trying to do.

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