Wednesday, June 27, 2018

"What If?": The Big Picture of a Small Conversation

What if I fail?
What if this relationship doesn't work?
What if I don't get this job?
What if something goes wrong?

For years, I'd been plagued with a constant imagining of the worst that would happen in a situation. While it is important to consider that, and prepare for it, I focused only on that and let it consume me. Needless to say, everything I had feared did happen.

Here I am, four (almost five) published books into what is becoming a slow but sure writing career. That I still do it is a lot to say.  I cannot tell you how many times I've been rejected or taken for granted, overlooked. I will admit I used to constantly ask myself, What if no one wants to read my books? What if they're not good enough?

All I have to do is "show up" every day and give it all I got.

What else I have learned over the years:

  • Life itself is risky
  • I can be my worst critic
  • I can't know how something is going to go for me unless I try
  • My failures can turn into successes
  • Just when I'm about to give up, something great and unexpected happens
And...(with apologies to MetLife), I should have a positive outlook on the "What if's" in life. Let me turn around the rhetorical questions I had a the beginning of this post:

What if I'm successful?
What if I am highly favored in this relationship?
What if I get this job, I get promoted, or it becomes a career?
What if everything goes better than expected?

I may sound a bit insulting when I say this, but I'm thankful to have some people in my corner as "Yodas" tell me:

Image result for yoda you must unlearn what you have learned

Those of you have been around me know I love the following: God, family, friends, classical and classic rock music, chocolate...and uplifting, encouraging, unrushed conversations. 

And I'm such an author that I talk about my books every chance I get. Admittedly, that's one of the reasons I decided to meet for breakfast at McDonald's with Metal Mission of Knoxville last Saturday morning.  I sat across from Place of Skulls drummer Tim Tomaselli. Over the past several months, Tim and I have gotten closer and enjoyed our conversations. Sitting next to him was Tommy Newman, the President of the Place of Skulls fan club. He said something about Jimmy Dean sausage.

Jimmy! That one name means so much more to me now than before, having written Crawling to the Light.

Tim's and my conversation moved to a higher level. I told him about the impact Jimmy Hensley, the lead singer of Mounted in the Open, makes on Melissa Leahy, the main character. I impersonated the some of the ways Melissa says Jimmy's name. Tim was fascinated and wanted to know more about "this movie".

I told him it wasn't a movie, that it was one of the first books I had written, and what it was about. 

"That sounds like a good idea for a movie," he said. Though I had thought about this prospect in the back of my mind, to my knowledge, I don't think anyone had said that to me.

I could say a whole lot more about this, but let me share a more optimistic litany of what if's:

What if I hadn't written that book?

What if I had deleted the file while I was working on it (because of a big, major disappointment in someone)?

What if I hadn't seen Place of Skulls?

What if I didn't volunteer with Metal Mission to serve the homeless?

What if I hadn't gotten up last Saturday morning to go to KARM?

What if I had to work that day?

What if I hadn't gone to McDonald's?

What if Tim hadn't gone, either?

What if Tom hadn't mentioned Jimmy Dean Sausage?

What if I didn't hear that and didn't have the boldness to explain why that name means something to me?

Well, though I wouldn't have something to write about on this early Wednesday morning, it is showing you who are reading this you are only one conversation away from something that will allow you to succeed.

Yes, that's right: Succeed.

I have to admit a fresh round of "what if's" are rolling around in my head. The biggest one: What if I get rejected and no one likes it?. Then again: What if someone loves it and accepts it? What if it becomes a success and touches many lives?

It's amazing how a conversation unfolds over pancakes and Mickey D's sweet tea. Keep them coming...the conversations, that is.

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