But first…a bit of inspiration (and my last reference to Amor Towles’s novel, A Gentleman in Moscow and its hero, Count Rostov–I promise–at least until the TV adaptation comes out.):

For what matters in life is not whether we receive a round of applause; what matters is whether we have the courage to venture forth despite the uncertainty of acclaim.

I’m adapting “acclaim” for my uses, loosely here. And “venture” in the creative vein. (No bungee jumping or sky-diving for me.)

Here’s the thing…recently, funny mom blogger extraordinaire, Becca, from With Love and a Little Self-Deprecation, got me to thinking, when she asked of herself a question I’m asking myself, this week. When was the last time I did something brave?

Not just something required that was maybe a tad-bit outside of my wheelhouse (to use  my fave maritime-inspired jargon). No, something that required guts.

Guts I’ve got when it comes to my kids. (Ask any mom.) Birth twins sans drugs–sure, got that… Forget my introversion (and the book I’m dying to read!) to introduce my toddlers to fellow toddlers on the playground–because, go figure, humans aren’t born knowing how to make introductions… Stick up for my kids when confronted by bullies… Overcome elementary math phobia to become a math club coach to teach kids that math is cool. Done, done, and done. Brave-ish Mom strikes and strikes again.

Now, can I be brave for myself? And can I be brave, when there’s no paycheck attached to it, when I’m the only one relying on me? Can I be creative-brave?

OK, let me back up to say that one reason I’m a writer is that I’m a nervous public speaker–and sometimes even not-so-public speaker. I’m just better on paper (you’re welcome). It’s one reason that I have five times the number of WordPress followers as FB friends.

And, funny thing, I taught freshman and sophomore-level college composition courses (yea, essays!) throughout my MFA, but teaching is different than speaking. Reading is different, too, if still a little scary. (Best done in a closet, as I was when I recorded my story, “Recruit.”) Reading my work before a group, letting my “weird” accent hang out–this I haven’t done in a while.

So, on my gutsy creative to-do list, this week: send my first, long-awaited literary agent query (first stop on the publishing road map) for my behemoth historical novel manuscript; and, even more to the bravery point, apply to present at a fall literary festival in my home state of Ohio, where much of my short fiction is set. This is new literary territory for me.

Part of my nervousness is due to the fact that to present at this festival really will be going home, and there’s a fear that I will be looked at as an outsider. (After so many years south of the Mason Dixon, I do say “ya’ll,” after all.)

Still, I’m going to submit my proposal. Worst thing that can happen is that they say no. Second worse, they say yes, and then I need to start stewing with nerves until September!

So, help a girl out, readers and writers:

Ever been to a literary festival? What do you look for (besides free books–yeah, I’m with you there)? What do you want to hear? Learn? I have no wares to hawk, no tsotchkes to share. It’s just me. And, in the immortal brand slogan of L’Oreal and imitator memes everywhere, I’m worth it.

I hope.

What’s on your gutsy creative to-do list this week?





13 thoughts on “Rust Belt Girl roundup for June 26, 2018

    1. Super-ish, maybe. But, thank you–and you’re so welcome for the shout out! You deserve it. I can’t wait to see where your blog goes, I’m so intrigued with the new venture. Need to respond to your survey…–on one of my lists!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Awesome post. Loved the encouragement for all of us to be braver! Wishing you all the very best with the festival (and the agent). I have a feeling you would be great. I wish I was there!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think people would be interested in what you write and why you write. You’re right, accountability is there. But I think it would be about genuine interest in your work. It may be a wonderful platform for your blog and ideas. Who knows what may come of it! I am quite excited for you!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Best of luck, Rebecca! I’ve always been more confident on paper than in speaking as well so I sympathize. I think you have an advantage, being a home town girl, even though you moved away. Your roots are there and people will be drawn to that! I hope you get to present!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Meg! I’ve been so drawn to my roots through this blogging project–I too hope I get to go back there and present. I’ll keep you posted–and I really appreciate your following my progress here on the ol’ blog!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure! I feel like all of us on this writing expedition are in this together! Your success is a great motivator for others traveling the same path!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know that I’d worry about being an outsider due to having lived away from Ohio for a long time. In my area of Ohio, expatriates are welcomed back for however long they choose to stay, be it just for a weekend or for the rest of their lives. When I run into someone who grew up in Lima (and I haven’t seen that person in years), the first question asked is, “When did you come back?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Michelle. I was just talking to my husband last night about the joys of returning home to Ohio, even if only for a short visit. It’s easier to strike up a meaningful conversation, even with a stranger in the grocery store, to make a connection, and to feel welcomed, than it is where I live now. People are very nice, but not quite as open. My dad always jokes that Ohio is a great place to be from, but when he had his choice to follow his kids (to either coast–my brother and sister both live in Seattle) or strike out in a new direction entirely, he chose to return to his hometown in Ohio. I think that says a lot.

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