067 - You can roll a Rolo to your pal

This is a neat idea:

For $2, Green Beans Coffee lets you send a cup of coffee, and a note of encouragement, to a deployed soldier. A couple of my co-workers were made active recently, they left a couple of weeks ago and will be gone for thirteen months. I always worry about them when they go to the middle east (and my friend Mike -- who actually posted the link in the first place -- he's a civvi but he's overseas supporting the troops). I know that any connection to home is bound to make their day a little brighter, even if it's from a stranger -- maybe even especially if it's from a stranger. So if you have the inclination, check it out.

So after yesterday's high, comes the low... I posted a revision of my query letter and waited for comments... Eventually the moment came -- there it was... a comment -- the comment I had been waiting all day for -- bestill my heart! I could barely contain myself after all the nice things that were said the day before. Would there be more helpful suggestions? Would they say it was much improved? Would I find pretty words of encouragement?

Nopety-nope-nope-nope. Naivete strikes again.

I don't mind criticism, in fact I think I've responded to it well up to this point. But it was the tone that got to me. There is a statement urging you to be polite and respectful just above the box where you enter your comments... but the comments were full of condescension. I almost wanted to apologize for offending this person with my query letter. Worse, I found myself wanting to defend my book, to respond to their rhetorical questions, to explain myself. From a friend I might have had a chuckle and played along with it, but from a stranger it cut me to the quick. This person has no right to belittle my work with their sarcasm. Even if my query letter was as bad as all that, I don't deserve their derisive commentary.

To carry this one step further, that kind of response is one of the things that scares me about getting published. This is just one person, one stranger, who said something that I perceived as nasty -- a published author has to deal with much more of the same. I mean, imagine Stephen King telling everyone that you can't write your way out of a paper bag. Happened to Stephenie Meyer. She is wildly popular, people seem to like her as a person almost as much as they like her books, yet she's not immune to verbal barbs -- even from other professionals (and whether it's true or not, what's his beef anyway?). On top of that, the criticism authors face isn't just in the form of words, book sales are also a form of criticism, maybe an even more painful one.

I need to develop a thicker skin.

Ironically, this little episode ties in with a conversation I had at work today. So as unfortunate as it was, it was also timely.

A co-worker and I have something of a bet to see who can keep their positive attitude the longest... this only applies at work, of course, so that previous paragraph doesn't count. =) We're both prone to bouts of whining... it's usually entertaining because he's extremely clever, but overall it's probably not good for our careers to be so negative. I admit it, I often see the cons before I see the pros -- something that became all too clear when I moved my blog over from Weebly last night (http://kristyhutchison.weebly.com/ if you haven't been there). As I copied my blogs I added labels... I found that quite a few of my blogs fell into the 'bitchin' category.

I don't remember when I became so cynical. For a while I thought of myself like Darlene from the Roseanne show... clever and sarcastic but admittedly slightly mean-spirited about it. Then things got better and I felt more like Lorelai Gilmore... quick witted and clever in a more upbeat way but I still had an edge. Now I'm Eyore. Maybe it's time to watch The Secret one more time. Whether you believe in what they're saying or not, and I admit that I toggle between wanting to believe and thinking it's hooey, I can honestly say that I feel more optimistic after I watch it. Hopeful even.

Good moods, and bad, are infectious. There was an episode of Touched by an Angel where one of the angels is in a bad mood, and she snaps at someone, and it sets off a whole chain of events... that person snaps at someone and that person snaps at someone until finally someone who is at the end of their rope takes it one step further and there's a catastrophe. It's just harder to start the positive chain, and even more difficult to keep it going, when you run into someone who is part of the negative chain. I try to tell myself that when someone says or does something hurtful, they're just having a bad day, and I shouldn't take it personally. Sometimes I listen.

That reminds me, I need to work on my dream page again. For a while I had one hanging on my refrigerator, but I took it down because I was a little embarassed for people to see what I wanted out of life. Okay, more specifically there was a guy coming over and I didn't want to freak him out by letting him see that I had a picture of an engagement ring on my refrigerator (one little picture in the middle of thirty - but I bet he would have noticed). That kind of thing gets stuck in a guy's head and they begin thinking you're looking to get married NOW, which makes them nervous and they run away. Stupid boys. Anyway... I had gone on the web and pulled pictures of my credit card statements and stamped PAID across them, found a BMW roadster and pasted onto the page, found a gorgeous burgundy wedding gown, pictures of people gathered around a grill, a picture of a scale with my goal weight, a picture of a boat, pictures of Scotland and other places I wanted to visit, and yeah, a picture of a book with my name on it... all these things that appeal to me, things I want, and I kept it on my refrigerator so that I could remember what I was aiming for. It made me happy to look at it and think that someday I might accomplish those goals, and it kept me on track because it acted as a reminder.

Yep. I need to do that again.

Tomorrow I get to go on a boat ride with friends. I love being on the water, it relaxes me. It's the same feeling I get after a Static-X concert... complete peace, no tension anywhere in my body. It's been months since I've been on a boat, but more importantly this is a great group of people, so I'm really, really, really looking forward to it!

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