Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Gore and the Glory


It’s all glorious!


A short time ago DS went, on a lark, to audition for a role in a movie. He is not an actor and this was just going to be an experience, a la “why not? I won’t get it.”


He was notified that he got the job. We called him, in jest (and some amazement) the movie star.

But stardom didn’t last. After a few emails and even a rehearsal, as well as more fun details about his part, an email notified him of a change in the project’s direction and that his part has been cut.


Easy come, easy go? Well, it’s never easy.


I was reminded of my first traditional book contract. It came out of the blue from a small but traditional publisher. The advance was paid, the illustrator hired and everything was moving full steam ahead. The contract, in retrospect, was very generous on all counts. The experience of working with the editor and watching my story be illustrated was joyous.


And then it wasn’t. The small publisher closed its doors.


I think about a former neighbor, a talented writer who got her first contract to publish a thriller with one of the publishing giants, and a six-figure advance. For a year everything was on track, and then… By now you can guess. The project was canceled. Gone. Bye-bye.


Oh, it was great while it lasted. If only…

Back in Paris, where he’s in graduate school, DS was feeling bummed out. Then he did a few things right. He called his sister at Juilliard in New York, and they skyped for two hours. She told him about her many setbacks, (competitions that fizzled and auditions that didn’t work the way she hoped) and together they helped each other. I am so happy for my kids that they have the relationship they do.

The second thing he did right is write up a schedule for the next few weeks, one that is both productive for what he has to do and includes some things he wants to do, so he has what to look forward to. All in all, a positive response that makes me feel optimistic for him.


As one who has had quite a few “almosts” in publishing in addition to projects that made it to publication, I know well that nothing is until it is.

 It’s how you respond that matters. Abandon ship? Get back on the horse? These literary clichés have actual and practical meaning. Navigating is not simple, because real life, if it’s worth living, does not come with MapQuest directions.

DS started out just looking for the experience. He got that. Nothing can take that away. It’s all glorious, in the end.


  1. What a great post Mirka! It's something I've really needed to be reminded of lately, with those 'almosts' so tantalizingly near.

  2. An "almost" can be devistating at first. But as you say, it's the response that counts. I keep reading from many experienced writers that perseverance is one of the most important attributes that a writer (or other artist) can have. More power to DC!

  3. I really enjoyed getting a peek into your kids' lives and how wonderful that they have each other to share what life offers. They are soooo talented!

    I've had books canceled after the deal, too. It's heart-breaking at the time, but I'm still here, writing :) Your PS is spot on.

  4. In the words of Alexander Graham Bell (who lived in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia!): "When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us."
    Which doesn't make the closed door any easier to deal with by times:)

  5. I love your honesty and perspective, Mirka. Not only are your kids fortunate to be able to rely on each other throughout life's many challenges but they are also blessed to have a mother who appreciates their spirit and perseverance.
    Boy, wouldn't a "life" map quest be nifty though!

  6. I like this because it boils down to the one thing we can count on with a career in the arts: nothing is certain and there are more failures than successes. I also like the example of your daughter because to me, those committed to music seem the most realistic of all, realizing the need of superhuman efforts when it comes to practice. And even if there are a few successes, the practice doesn't end. It never ends.

    1. "...the practice doesn't end. It never ends."
      So true, Karen, and worth repeating.

  7. Oh, and sometimes even after it is, it isn't any more. I'm talking about rights reversions, which I've come to learn a lot about over the past two years. You just never know, but it's all a learning experience.

  8. I too know the :-( of a short-lived publication and then the house closed.
    But! I have a book! And I am extremely proud of that. It keeps me pressing on along with the encouragement of friends like you. Great post.

  9. Oh I do love this post, Mirka. Thank you so much, for sharing your son's experience...and for helping us realize that if this is our ride, we need to hang on tight even then the road gets rocky. And if we fall off, we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, find a friend to give us a hand up, and get in the saddle again.

  10. You raised two wonderful kids, Mirka! Great wisdom found here.

  11. Wise words as always, Mirka. My relationships with my siblings are some of the most important ones in my life. I hope to foster the same in my kiddos.

  12. I love that your kids have each other, Mirka. I'm close to my sibs also and feel very blessed.