From March 2020:
A few weeks ago, I applied to be a featured author at an upcoming Colorado Springs library event, something that would provide great publicity and opportunity for me to meet with like-minded local authors and find Colorado readers interested in my work.
It was a huge big deal for me to actually apply, and I was honored to participate in an author event in the Chicago suburbs when I lived there, and it was a great opportunity to connect with passionate authors and booksellers.
As an educator, I also hoped to inspire my students to take risks and publish their writing.
So, today I received a brief email from the library, stating that they have too many local authors and no room for me or my book.
It’s hard to receive a rejection like that, and not feel it deeply personal… later, after reflection, I was reminded:
Follow your deepest calling. No matter the response the world gives us, we can still be loving light and live within our own specific passions and callings; for me, it’s teaching and writing.
This is an essay from Henri Nouwen, a Dutch man who lived for God, and loved others unswervingly; someone incredibly inspiring to me, who lived with strength and humility.
I hope this piece encourages you tonight as it blessed me.
I clearly remember being profoundly disappointed by this and feeling like I was an inadequate author because as a local, I could not even convince my neighborhood library to allow me to participate! It was all ridiculous of me to think one event mattered. I know! 10 days later our world shut down in a pandemic and the event was cancelled.
However, I re-evaluated my passions, purposes, and love of writing. That has remained and ignited! Since this day, three years ago, I have published five short stories, I keep my website updated, and feel incredible about the craft of writing —no matter my audience or income.
Yes, Stephen King said if you write something, get paid for the writing, and can pay the electric bill with that check, you are an author. I make monthly royalties from my writing and pay bills thanks to selling 1 physical paperback and 6 Kindle books on Amazon, which I think about for 7 seconds once a month when I notice the money is deposited in the bank. And my heart feels a thrill because people in Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, Argentina, or the United Kingdom bought my book that month.
But it’s the love for sharing my heart which keeps me writing, for trying to remind people they are not alone, for illuminating some injustices in the world which maybe I didn’t understand or notice 10 years ago but I do now. Writing shapes who I am and I often know how I feel through writing about an experience. I’m go glad for authors like Henri Nouwen who truly knew what it felt like to be alone but wrote about it — and knew how it was true we are actually beloved — and we can live in that beautiful reality.