Saturday, November 28, 2009

Landing Safely

“Heads down” yelled the stewardess. I heard the edge of hysteria in her voice as I leaned over and put my hands over my head. Just a few minutes ago, as my flight was coming in for a landing, the pilot had announced that there was a problem. He and his co-pilot, due to a malfunction, were unable to determine if the landing gear was down and they were not taking any chances. They were treating this as a potential plane crash and we would have to make preparation for a rough landing. We were going to be met by emergency vehicles.

I remember the overwhelming iciness of fear flowing over me as I heard this. There was no time to write notes and this was a few years before cell phones were the norm. I looked sideways at the woman sitting next to me. We’d taken our seats two hours ago and never spoken. I was in my early twenties, she was in her forties. Her face mirrored my own, nervousness and something close to panic. I blurted out, my first words to her. “I have to pee.” She laughed and for a split second our fear broke. She said she did too, than as the plane descended and the stewardesses yelled out the warnings, she grabbed my hand.

We waited.

We hit the tarmac with a gentle thump. The landing gear had worked. Everyone on the plane cheered, and true enough the brightly colored emergency vehicles were there waiting.

We made it safely to our destination. I never saw that woman again.

I won’t ever forget that panic.

This brings me to the point of the story-fear.

I am hearing rumors, and reading about the realignments of publishing houses. Writers are nervous, old and new. Things are changing. Those of us who are unpublished writers are afraid. We wonder will we ever get published? Is it even possible? Are we pursuing a fools dream? Even seasoned authors are uneasy.

We all are on that plane, and we are not sure if the landing gear is going to come down. The possibility that all you are working for will come to nothing is very real. It inspires in us the dark iciness of panic. We could pretend things are not going to change and ignore it, or we could duck our heads down, and brace for impact.

I suggest we meet our fear head on, we acknowledge it, then clasp each other’s hands and forge ahead, keeping our eyes and ears wide open. Things are changing whether we like it or not, but we can meet it without being crippled by our fear. We can help each other. Stories are waiting to be told, and to be read. There is a place for all of us, although it may be far different than we expected.

Just wait and see. We’ll land safely on the other side.

What do you think? Do you think upheaval and possible changes coming in the publishing world is to be feared, or should we embrace it and make it work for us? What are your thoughts?


Christine said...

Most excellent post, Mary! I agree. We are on a plane and we're not sure where, or how, it will land. But it will land. I believe forging ahead, making adjustments to our careers, holding each other up and supporting each other, and continuing to dream are the only way to stay on the plane. If we don't, our only option is to grab a parachute and jump out. And truth is, that's not any better of a guarantee nor will we have companions for the journey to the jungle.

I only have control over my writing and being a supportive writing comrade. All else is up for grabs.

M.V.Freeman said...

Christine, I agree with you totally!

The support of fellow writers is intrinsic to our continuing to deal with writing, its ups,downs and insecurities. And the idea of jumping out of the plane...eek!

For me, I am no longer going to panic, I am going to move forward at whatever pace I can.

So long as I keep moving. :-)

Christine said...

The little engine that could haha... you will get it done and I know once you do that PRO pin is right around the corner. I believe Gwen got her confirmation in the emails very quickly--woot!

M.V.Freeman said...

That is great news!!!

And congrats to Gwen! :-)

Callie James said...

It's easy to get swept up in the drama, that's for sure. As for me, I'm going to focus on improving my craft with each book and writing a great story.

Seriously, what's the alternative?

Good post, Mary!

M.V.Freeman said...


I am so with you on that! It is easy to get embroiled in that fear of what will be. I agree, perfecting the craft is the best way to go. :-)

And thanks!

knolhowe said...

Writers write because it is a part of who they are. It is impossible to jump ship, so to speak. If you are serious about being published, you work at growing and improving. You hang on to the dream and adjust to changes. Frustration and fear is part of the territory, but so is joy and amazement when something has gone better than you thought it would. The journey always continues...Kaye

M.V.Freeman said...

I agree Kaye (mom)

Its all part of the process. :-)

Naima Simone said...

What an awesome post, Mary! *whistles and claps* I for one vote for embracing, grabbing the bottle of bubbly and jumping, forging ahead and going for it. There's a quote my husband loves, "Just on the other side of fear is the life you've always dreamed of." That is so true for us. I'm plowing through to the other side!!

Wonderful post!

M.V.Freeman said...

I'm with you Naima! Lets go for broke!

And I LOVE that quote. I am writing that down. :-)