I’ve always been a pessimistic person. I think the main reason is I can be absolutely CRUSHED by disappointment, so I always reasoned it was better not to get too excited in case something didn’t work out (like that time my primary-school team got beaten in the finals of the 1993 Ulster Credit Union quiz final (I did win a schoolbag though)).
Sometimes I’m right about this. For example when I made a ‘things that could go wrong’ list a while before my wedding, number one was ‘major transport disaster’. And as many readers will know, the gods of the earth obliged with eruptions, ash, and apocalyptic doom. Well, it was actually kind of a nice sunny day down on earth, but I’ll take the government’s word for it that total shut-down was needed. And of course the wedding was saved after all (different story) but the point is I had already done the worrying that something bad would happen.
What’s that you say? The worrying didn’t stop it happening? Yes, but shh. That’s not the point.
The point is pessimism can be a protective mechanism, but I’m starting to wonder if it can also sap some of the joy out of life’s best moments. Today I signed with a literary agent – the dream of most writers – and while I’m excited and grateful and thrilled I’m also having some strange up and down mood-swings. I feel like all the excitement is leaving me raw and open to disappointment once again. Like you almost can’t experience great days and dreams-come-true without not-great days and dashed hopes.
There’s a lot of questions.
Questions like: this is great, but what if I still never get published?
What if they change their minds?
Why does it upset me to see I made a mistake in one of the books? Of course I made mistakes, tons of them, probably. And am totally open to fixing those.
And of course…
If I’m good after all, why doesn’t everyone in the world love me and want to publish me on the spot, name their babies after my characters, get tattoos of my book covers, etc? (I mean it really is the least they could do).
It is rather confusing and makes me understand a bit more why everyone on reality TV shows is always weeping and talking about rollercoasters of emotion. And it makes me see that whatever I tell myself, I am still hoping all my dreams come true. I won’t be happy with just having tried. Like in the Credit Union finals when I was just the lass with the weird general knowledge, I want to win. And that means being open to not winning and all it brings.
Anyway, I have an agent! Time to enjoy that one for a while, whilst getting on with the most important thing – rehearsing what I’ll say when I go on Late Review… no, I mean writing my next book.
Conversation between Pooh and Eeyore:
Eeyore: “It’s snowing still”
Pooh: “So it is.”
Eeyore: “And freezing.”
Pooh: “Is it?”
Eeyore: “Yes. However, we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”