My father wrote stories. During his retirement years, he wrote and relished the process of creating novels, poems and plays. He sent his manuscripts to publishers and agents time and again. He would receive rejection upon rejection. Sometimes, a publisher would ask him to re-write various elements so they could ponder the probability of accepting it. That’s when my dad’s hopes grew and visions of being the next wealthy Stephen King filled his head. He’d revise and send in his work, only to be met with vague decisions and ultimate rejection.
He finally self published one of his books, “Faustus in Pasquack” on Amazon, long before the self publishing craze began. The cover was home made. From a marketing perspective, it was simple and pedestrian. The writing between the covers was good. The story was captivating, and it garnered nice, polite responses. He wanted fame, but in the end, I think he was satisfied that he did it. He didn’t have to win the lottery of the literary world. He finally wrote his visions and created stories people read and enjoyed. He had a small following of readers. Al least he wrote something tangible. He did it. That’s what counts.
I know this isn’t the usual success story one finds after hearing about the travails of rejection while on the road to fame. We should all be acknowledged handsomely for our work, and with the persistence and luck, we can get there.
However, success doesn’t have to be fame. Success can be the act of doing something we find impossible – and just do it – despite the fear or self doubt. We each have a different road. My dad’s may have been different. I have all his work, all his words, and I hope to bring them back to the world one day. He left behind a body of work. That is success.
My Uncle Charles, my dad’s brother, wrote me an interesting reply after an email exchange regarding the day we laid my parents ashes in the bay in Sag Harbor back in the summer of 2010. He came up with the idea of spreading their ashes in this quiet, lovely coast, and I expressed how forever grateful we did this. Instead of visiting my parents in a dark cemetery, I can go to the banks of the inlet bay in East Hampton and visit the spot where their remains drifted off – my mom heading for her hometown of Havana, Cuba, my dad somewhere beyond the blue horizon.
“We all come from the sea and there we return. Life is a mystery. I cherish every Sunrise. Charles.”