Sunday, April 17, 2011

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

I hate being caught between choices. Sometimes you're going to stumble no matter which direction you choose.

Nasty truth, but true nonetheless.

I long to attend RWA's National Conference. I've attended before, and there is nothing quite like the energy one absorbs when surrounded by like-minded individuals. Also, GH finalists are often sought out by editors and agents. A nice change of affairs, I assure you.

Circumstances, however, may preclude making use of that pastel pink finalist's ribbon.

(Which leads me to ask, don't you think a finalist's ribbon should be a less insipid color? I mean, really. Baby-girl pink? We aren't writing nursery rhymes. Wouldn't a vivid, vibrant color that speaks of dashing heroes and intrepid heroines, shouts the joy of accomplishment be more appropriate?

Random survey concluded. Back to the blog.)

Those circumstances include the anticipated birth of our first grandson less than a week before conference. If our daughter didn't live 1200 miles away, that would be a no-brainer. But she does.

I could fly down, but I would go alone. My beloved would never weather the trip. Twenty minutes in the car has him huffing "cleansing breaths" to control the pain. Two or more hours stuffed into an airplane seat would be tanamount to torture.

Even so, he'd suffer through it (with the help of pain meds)for her, but our dear daughter has made it clear she would prefer to bring the child to us; she confessed she'd rather we didn't see the home they're currently renting. (If that's not enough to set a mother's inner alarms buzzing, I don't know what is!) Of course, that homecoming could happen anywhere between six weeks and six months after the birth--if we're lucky.

She is so adamant, however, she encouraged me to go to conference. Now, that might not seem like much to you, but this is the child who has resented my writing and the time it commands from the moment I decided, once she,the youngest, entered Middle School, the children were sufficiently independent to permit pursuing my own deferred goals.

The 180 only makes the Mom reflex jerk harder.

Then there is the cost. NYC is extremely expensive. The good news is I needn't fly to get there. The bad news is, well, NYC is extremely expensive. I know I'm not alone debating the wisdom of incurring additional debt in this economic climate with the future uncertain and no guarantee of professional advancement.

The choice seems clear enough, doesn't it?

It is---until you consider the networking, the contacts, the personal recommendations and face-to-face interactions that could be the catalyst that sells the books languishing on your hard-drive and improve your financial outlook.

So here I am, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, a brick wall and a hard place, the irresistible force and the immoveable object. (Did I miss any?)

I've been a finalist twice before and didn't capitalize on the distinction because of my sweetheart's health problems. After five years, I've been forced to accept their impact on our lives. What I will never accept, however, is giving up on the future.

That insipid ribbon could make a world of difference to that future. Then, again, it could just be another accolade hung on the wall.

Either choice, whether professional or financial, is a risk.

Thank heaven I can pray---and swim.


Christine said...

I remember when you first encouraged me to go for the insipid pink ribbon. You are so kind and inspirational. I hope and pray you go to the National Conference. I'd love to meet you and cheer for you. My dear friend and CP, Sharon Wray, is also a finalist. I just wish I was super rich and could hand this trip to you on platter. I will send magic sparkles into the universe in the sincere desire that they bring you joy, luck, and the means to attend AND take advantage of every golden opportunity you have earned and that you DESERVE!!!



Gwynlyn said...

Christine! How are you, hon? How did the hubby's surgery go? Is all well with your FIL?

I've thought of you often and hoped you kept writing.

How wonderful your CP is a finalist. Are you going as her "date" to the awards? I must tell you, the Rubies have decided there's a special mojo that comes with being the "date." I was my CP's date in 'o6 and a finalist for the first time in '07. Another of the '11 finalists was a Ruby awards "date." I certainly hope it holds true for you.

I tried to find you for the Rubies' Winter Writing Festival. I thought you would enjoy it, but without more of a name, I was stymied. The good news is we plan to make it an annual event. Maybe next year.

Thank you for your good wishes. I appreciate them more than you know. I have time to make my decision (and see what a talented juggler I can be!) I've kissed it up to God, but if I can find a way, you can bet I'll be there. I would love to meet you too!


Christine said...

Hi: I am writing--on my fifth MS now. I just finaled in the FAB FIVE so that makes me happy. I have had a lot of interest in two of my manuscripts so that's forward progression.

I am going as my CP's date. Good to know it is good karma for me! I think she is a fabulous writer so the GH final is well-deserved :-)

My hubby's hip replacement went very well. He's like a new man. My FIL passed away a year ago in May. Sad day, but hubby was able to make to TX in time to say goodbye.

I'm praying you can make it to NYC--keep me posted! You can always find me at cjglover AT gmail DOT com.


Gwynlyn said...

My hubby's hip replacement went very well. He's like a new man. My FIL passed away a year ago in May.

I'm so sorry about your FIL, Christine. I'm glad Hubby was able to see him before he passed, though. Regret is a horrible burden.

Good news on the hip replacement. Now if they could only do it for backs. *sigh*

Guess what? I accidentally clicked on your photo and it took me to your blog. I'll be stopping by!

Wendy La Capra said...

I have a friend who was a GH finalist & was published as a result of talking with an editor at the Golden Heart Reception. I do hope you can swing a visit to NY, although I understand your dilemma--congrats on the imminent birth of your grandchild.

Gwynlyn said...

Thanks, Wendy. I, too, hope my juggling skills will be sufficient to get me to NY if for no other reason than the psychological boost interacting with my many friends and fellow writers will impart.

It's also a great opportunity to meet, face to face, those people I've talked to via this blog and the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood Blog. (

Excellent news about your friend. What year did she final? My CP has seven finals under her belt and three wins, but is still in limbo. Home and family stuff isn't selling like it once was.

Thanks for stopping.

Jenn Stark said...

Gwynlyn, I think that you have done so much, and persevered under such difficult circumstances, that the universe will grant you blessings, no matter what you decide.

And you are so right on the ribbon. I vote for royal purple.

Hugs and I hope to see you in NYC!!

Gwynlyn said...

Thanks, Jenn. I do hope you're right, although there are many folks out there much worse off than I. Add the blessing of good friends, and I've litte to complain about.

Royal Purple? Works for me!

Shoshana said...

Well, I think you should come to NY. Then again, I'm not exactly objective.

Someone once told me that a good way to deal with a decision you're struggling with is to have someone else make it for you. Then, based on your reaction to their choice, you can figure out what you really want. It usually works for me...but maybe because I've never used it to make that tough of a decision.

Whatever you choose, I'm clicking my heels that good things happen for you on the writing front.

Rita said...

Come to NYC. we will make a plan to find every agent you are interested in speaking with. You shall go home with many requests that will lead to a contract. say that every morning before you get out of bed.
This is your year!

Anne Barton said...

Hi Gwyn! I think Jenn said it perfectly. The universe will grant you blessings, no matter what! Would love to see you in NYC, but it's hard to compete with brand new grandbabies.

Big hugs!

Autumn Jordon said...

Oh, darling. I hope you can make NY. I'm thinking huge yard sale myself. Might have to toss the kitchen sink in too.

You grab one oar and I'll grab the other, we'll cross the Lehigh and every river in-between together. We both need and deserve a few days to be girls.

Sparkly roayal purple works for me.

Gwynlyn said...

"Someone once told me that a good way to deal with a decision you're struggling with is to have someone else make it for you."

I LOVE this, Shoshana! Truth be told, I'm fighting the urge to scream "Devil take the hindmost" and register. The only thing holding me back is wondering if I'm doing it for the right reasons, or if my desire to spend time with the Rubies and other writing friends is coloring my objectivity.

Selfishness is not a good reason to take a risk.

(Now you know why my sweetie says I "think things into submission.")

Thanks for the heel clicks, doll. You gals are so special on so many levels; the ability to make someone feel important is just one of them.


Gwynlyn said...

Rita, you are a force to be reckoned with! I thank heaven you're a Ruby and on our side!

I believe you, doll. It's my year! The mantra will be repeated often.


Gwynlyn said...

"Would love to see you in NYC, but it's hard to compete with brand new grandbabies."

It seems I'm not invited to TX, so NY is sounding better and better. It's becoming a siren's call (and you can tell Tammy I said so! *G* Taste Me is a great book, btw.)

We shall see. Thanks for caring, doll.


Gwynlyn said...

"You grab one oar and I'll grab the other, we'll cross the Lehigh and every river in-between together. We both need and deserve a few days to be girls."

I'm game! You're right, though, I do need some time away. (Yes, I can hear me talking myself into it, too. Gotta stop. Reason must win. It would kill me to go only to regret it later.)

Yeah, I think too much. Probably what kills my stories, too. *sigh*

Bev Pettersen said...

Aw, Gwyn, it's so hard to always be everything to everyone. i think Shoshana's suggestion is a great one. And I definitely vote for a more vivid color. Excellent point!

Gwynlyn said...

Thanks, Bev. I have two of those ribbons taped above my monitor, and I dislike pink---unless it's electric or more raspberry--still, I wouldn't give them back! No matter the color, validation is a lovely thing. Sometimes those ribbons are the only things that keep me going. Still, I wish they were purple or claret so the gold letter stood out better. Wishing doesn't cost anything, and who knows? We could start a movement! *G*

Elisa said...

Oh, yes...the insipid pink ribbon. Should be royal purple or electric blue or something...

And I HOPE you get yourself to NYC this year!!!! I think it will be more than worth it!!

Gwynlyn said...

Hmmm. Perhaps I should make this decision by consensus? How can I go wrong with such support and encouragement?

Thanks, Elisa. I, too, hope I can manage it, and I like your color choices! Bold and dramatic works for the likes of us, yes?

Darynda said...

Awww, the pink ribbon. The one I longed for with so much....well, longing. I hope you can manage it too, Gwyn. Any way I can help, I am there.

Gwynlyn said...

I didn't realize the ribbon was ALWAYS pink until I received the second one. Believe me, it could be puke green and I wouldn't give them away!

I'm trying, sweetie. God willing, I'll be there.