Friday, February 18, 2011

Vanity


I got news today I was long-listed in a short story competition in Ireland. Something like 100 of us in the long list from submissions of around 2000. Stuff like this is a validation. A nudge from the universe to say:

"Yeah, baby, you can write. Keep at it."


We never fully believe in our own talents do we? What is wrong with saying:

"Yeah, I'm really good at this music-writing-painting biz, you wanna see it?"


I'm getting better at blowing my own horn. And what is wrong with that, pray tell?

I'll tell you what's wrong with it. It is the Catholic upbringing. VANITY was a sin. PRIDE was a sin. BOASTING was a sin. BRAGGING was a sin. PRIMPING was a sin. PREENING was a sin. One had to be HUMBLE with one's talents. As they all belonged to the ICH* anyway, who dealt them out carefully and usually to those MOST UNWORTHY of them. Proof of this unworthiness being one's VANITY. Circular thinking at its very finest.

I've been writing since I could read. Writing about everything. There was a long, long pause in there while I became an accountant and proceeded to earn a living with that and explore my nascent alcoholism which quenched my creativity and steamrollered me into semi-oblivion. I was out of touch with my innate artistry for nearly two decades. I never thought I was any good. And that was reinforced when I was younger.

Why would I want to waste my time writing when if I crunched numbers I could actually house and feed myself? Even though I was published as a teenager and winning major writing competitions. Misdirection much? Frustration with one's life's path can create many demons. And sometimes we don't live long enough to set aside the addictions and forge a new path.

I feel truly fortunate that my life took a positive turn some 25 years ago and I was able to slowly rediscover who I truly was.

And I honestly don't care about the Short List. The Long List is a huge big thrill.





*ICH=Invisible Cosmic Housekeeper.

37 comments:

  1. Oh, that's great. One does need encouragement. You deserve more than the long list. Next time It'll be the short one.

    I feel validated whenever my daughter (the one who lives on the narrow boat) tells me I have written a good post. I haven't tried fiction since I was a teenager.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well maybe I'm prejudiced Anne but I think you always write very interesting posts.
    I find writing fiction is another world for me, where I can enter an alternative universe, inhabit another character(s) it and stay for as long as I like.
    I think your daughter (D.O.?) reads me too.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  3. The story is not over yet. I have everything crosses for you. If it was anything like the four-parter we read here, I'd say you have what it takes to go further.

    Well done on the placing so far.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you GM!

    *blush*

    You say the kindest and most supportive things!

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are certainly on my short list, which is all I care about. However, having fans other than me is probably nice too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Marcia!
    Fans are a *good thing*!
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congratulations! If the short story is anything like the one you shared with us, then I'd say you have a good chance of going further in this competition.

    Please do keep blowing your own trumpet - it makes such a nice noise :-D

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you Jo!
    Well it would be nice and I would be over the moon but it would not take away from just being in the long list. Seriously.
    I am thrilled to bits.
    And I'm glad you like the sound of my horn!
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  9. I hope you make it from the long list to the short list. Of course, I haven't read your story, but I assume it is good, knowing your talent for one. Please do keep blowing your own horn. There's nothing wrong with that. Somebody has to do it. I'm a fan of yours, but not enough people may know that.

    ReplyDelete
  10. By the way, if it's any consolation to you, protestants feel the same way about vanity.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good for you on all fronts - being long-listed, for rebellion against the oughts and shouldn'ts and for writing on ins spite of everything and everyone who conspired against it!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Congratulations!!!
    You have every right to be proud of your accomplishments. All of them. Next step the short list.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well done you! Best of luck with the final judging.

    As for vanity and boasting, how exactly would one describe the Pope's finery and the pompous grandeur of Vatican City?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations. I hope that you go all the way to the final.

    ReplyDelete
  15. In the words of The Mask, "SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSMOKIN'!
    " :-) Congrats.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Nora:
    Interesting that about Protestants, I thought they were not as severe on the 7 Deadlies as us Cacklicks were?
    I will send you the story via email if you like, I would be very interested in your comments.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you Pauline, I do believe our innate passions survive in spite of ourselves. In the depths of my dark period I would still scratch out thoughts in my journal. Some spark was still lit though I placed no value on it.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  18. Brighid:
    Thank you so much, such lovely thoughts but I truly am content with the long list.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  19. Nick:
    LOL LOL!
    Total oxymoronic, eh?
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks Ramana:
    Even if not, I am thrilled to bits.
    Especially since it is the country of my birth!
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  21. VP:
    Exactly. Well described, my friend!
    Thank you!
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  22. "nudge from the universe" - Yep! I see old Uni has all her ducks in a row - for once!

    Congrats - onward and upward to the shorts!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Yes, she's been very good to me, T, even though I thoughtlessly ignored her for more years than I care to count!
    Thanks!
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  24. Good for you! Congratulations!

    And good for you getting better at tooting your own horn. Something many of us could benefit from. I am just as admiring of that as the longlisting.

    ReplyDelete
  25. "Ite missa est." And, oh yeah, "Deo gratias." (This still makes me laugh.)

    So glad you're free to be you. Love your writing. Love your honesty.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Annie:
    We all need to do it, I second that!
    For if we don't, no one will. It sure has encouraged me to edit the Great Newfoundland Novel and fire it off to publisher.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sharon:
    When I was little and this was said at the end of the Mass I would always think: "Who is Ita and why does he miss her so much?" LOL.
    *bow* thank you and may you never miss Ita.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  28. Besides being Catholic, you were a girl.
    Double whammy.
    Being old(er) means we can take off the high heels, give the bathing suit to goodwill, ditch the cosmetics, relax and give our dreams the freedom room to roam.
    Helen
    Good luck with your book.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I would love to ready your story, dear. I'm looking forward to it. Oh yes, we have a severely punishing God too.

    ReplyDelete
  30. It's good to get some affirmation (especially from unbiased outsiders) and it isn't boasting to tell people - we all get to share your good news that way!
    8-D

    ReplyDelete
  31. Congratulations Wise!!! In my experience catholics are crueler that protestants - I am both. To win a prize for writing in IRELAND is more to brag about than winning the prize almost anywhere, if not anywhere, else isn't it? Good on ya!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Helen:
    Right on!
    And being older means having the freedom of a child once again along with a bit of pocket money to have some fun with!
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  33. congratulations! this is a BIG BIG deal. i am so happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Coming from you Laurie with your black belt in published words, I am hugely honoured!
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete

Some of you are having trouble, I've removed captcha and verification so we'll see how that goes. My apologies. Blogger is putting up far too many roadblocks. Thanks for the emails alerting me.
wisewebwomanatgmail.com