- by Kim Watters
It was a dark and stormy night… Okay, so it wasn’t exactly stormy, just a light gusty breeze, but it was dark and late. Finally, after a thirty minute commute from my local chapter meeting, I pulled into my garage, a little road weary and at the same time overjoyed I actually made it back to watch the late news on television. When the automatic garage door went up, my brain registered that one thing a woman does NOT want to see in the garage. And not just any where in the garage but in that three foot space between the door jambs. A big, fat, hairy tarantula. And it’s between me and my nice, safe house.
Folks, we’re talking BIG here. Apparently, it’s out hunting. Okay, breathe; those Lamaze classes certainly come in handy four years AFTER labor. I contemplated my next move. I could wait it out. NOT! Tarantulas are nocturnal. I could sleep in my not so comfortable car, or I could get out and fight the do I need to reiterate big and hairy spider? In between bouts of irrational musings, I decided to get out of the car and show this arachnid who’s the boss.
Not an easy feat for someone deathly afraid of anything with more than four legs. Stems back to childhood which I refuse to talk about. With husband and children in bed, I had no choice. So spying the offensive creature lying in wait for the unsuspecting dinner (ME) to cross his path, I grab the nearest thing that resembled a pole to shush the thing onto darker, stormier journeys. Now I know why I’ve kept that old broken shower curtain rod by the garage door all these years. I finally could put it to good use.
Let me tell you, Harry was huge. Oh, excuse me…I did tell you this before, but this great brown beast with eight legs was bigger than a breadbox. Hey, it’s my story and I can exaggerate. This particular spider was bigger than the last one I evicted. Harry Jr. must have been the son or daughter old Harry here, but believe me, I wasn’t about to check the sex as I showed it the door. Junior went quietly into the big box. Harry, on the other hand, wouldn’t give up his nice comfy surroundings with abundant food and some semblance of protection without a fight.
Did I mention tarantulas can JUMP? Fascinating as they are to watch each fat, hairy leg stretch and move in a synchronized fashion like those swimmers at the Olympics, this particular one wanted no part of “There’s the door, now stay on your side and I’ll stay on mine and we’ll all be happy” tune. Nope. He kept trying to turn around and crawl back in. And I kept poking him with the metal rod in the direction of the great outdoors. After five minutes, victory was mine.
Which got me to thinking about determination. Harry was determined to stay in my garage. I was MORE determined to evict the huge, hairy beast. The one with the most determination gained the prize. Just as I won in the writing world.
Did I let Harry get the best of me each time he turned around and tried to crawl back into the garage? No. I kept at him, prodding him along. Ergo, did I let each rejection letter end my dreams of being published? No. I kept taking classes and reading articles and honing my craft. But most of all I kept submitting. I kept at it against all odds even when it seemed like I had enough rejection letters to paper my bathroom wall.
Even when Harry lifted his big, fat hairy you-know what at me,– it’s a defense mechanism so I’ve been told – I didn’t let him stop me from my dream of a Tarantula free garage. (or at least the idea that I couldn’t SEE any more of them)
It’s that way with writing, folks. It’s a spider-eat cricket world out there. If you don’t have the guts to keep trying, get out of the way of those authors who will. Because in the long run, all your hard work and determination will pay off. Eventually, I found an editor who got my work. You will, too.
So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it, until tomorrow night that is when Harry, gargantuan beast, lifts the garage door by himself and crawls back in, or I receive another one of those SASE’s containing a “Thanks but no thanks” form letter. As before, I’ll be ready. I’ll pull out that long pole or log onto my computer again and start the process all over again.