Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Corn of Happiness

The Corn of Happiness, you ask?No, that is not a typo. Let me explain.

I have a very enthusiastic ChiaPom (that’s part Chihuahua, part Pomeranian) named Tinkerbell (yes, we all name these dogs Tink) and she loves her toy, a bright yellow corn with a squeaker in it. She totes it around in her little mouth begging anyone who will pay attention, for a game of fetch. And fetch she will, until you both drop.

Recently, Mr. Corn was torn in two, and became dangerous for her to keep playing with. I had to do the unthinkable and throw it away. Now before anyone gets upset with me, I had a perfectly new Mr. Corn all ready to give her.

Tink didn’t understand. She barked, she cried, she whined, and she begged me to please “please, please get my toy out of that ugly, stinky box”. She didn’t want a new Mr. Corn. The Corn of Happiness in the garbage was her baby, her life, her true love.

New Mr. Corn didn’t smell right, and it didn’t taste right. She sniffed it and promptly resumed her cry for the lost toy. She pursued her love for Old Mr. Corn (now lying deep in the pile of papers in my kitchen can) even when I became nasty and threatened her life. Even when I tried to interest her in a treat, she refused and went back to the trashcan, determined to change my mind about this situation.

She just refused to give up.

I learned a valuable lesson.

Never quit.

That seems so easy to say and so hard to do for some. In the writing world, we work and strive to craft a piece that is publishable, only to hear someone say, “not for me”, “just sold one like this” “didn’t love the characters enough”. To have our work rejected, tossed in the old round file, is as frustrating as Tink and her torn toy. It is so easy to shove that one aside, and go on to something else, abandoning our Corn of Happiness because we didn’t succeed the first time out (or the second or the third).

Well, believe me, after a time of listening to my baby dog’s unhappiness vocalized as loudly as she could muster, I caved. I dug the dang thing out and gave it back to her. Yes, the squeaky dog gets the toy.

And if we want our work to be published, and given its time in the sun, we just have to be like a determined ChiaPom, and never give up.

Take any suggestions you receive from agents, editors, and others who read your work, and turn your piece into something more. Keep sending it out over and over, and never waver in your desire to find it a home. The only difference between a published author and a seeking one, is the word “yes”.


Marta Stephens said...

What a great analogy, Kim. I love this piece. I can just see Tink bouncing with each bark. Am I right?

I just received word this morning that a friend of mine after searching high and low for a publisher has had his manuscript accepted. Never give up seems to be the motto of the day. Thanks so much for this post!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Delightful piece, Kim! I loved learning about your Tinkerbell (my grandparents named their poodles Tink and I named one of the dogs in my series that, in honor of them.) Poor little thing - I'm glad she got her corn back - and hope you figured out how to make it nice and safe for her. Be sure she can't get the squeaky part out, those are supposed to be dangerous. Anyway - well said, great analogy, and keep them coming!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Tinkerbell is SO cute!!!

Julie Ann Shapiro said...

What an adorable, sweet and inspiring story. You should send this out to a magazine.

s.w. vaughn said...

Kim, this is adorable. And what a wonderful comparison to writing!

Your little man is a lucky dog. LOL