SOMETIMES THE ENEMY IS US – September 7 2010

I’m allergic to plumbing and all things mechanical.  Even the simplest task of replacing the filter on my water purifier can be daunting.  Last week, the light on the filter started to blink red, a sign it needed to be changed.  I’ve done it a few times, but on this occasion, the cartridge stuck to the cap.  I twisted and turned it but nothing happened.  I was convinced I’d never succeed in dislodging it, so I stuck the contraption back on the faucet and called a friend who helps me out with handyman tasks.  He came last Friday and tried to twist the cartridge off just as I had done. He failed just as I had done.  Then he tried something different. He pulled the cartridge from the head rather than twist it.  It fell into his hands like rain from the sky.

Naturally, I felt a fool.  I’d convinced myself I couldn’t solve the problem so I didn’t. In sum, I sabotaged myself.  It’s an example of what I meant when I wrote in an earlier blog, “thinking makes it so.” (Blog 8/30/10)

Today, I got an e-mail from a friend who has written a novel but so far hasn’t found a publisher.  Her salutation was: “To a friend who knows how to get published.”

I felt sad when I read what she’d written because she knows how to get published.  A writer sends out a manuscript again and again until someone says, “I like it.”  She has a PhD in English.  I’ve read her self-published book from cover to cover.  She knows how to write.  What she didn’t learn in academia was how to persevere.  She’s fearful of rejection and so after a few unsuccessful attempts to find a publisher, she’s given up.  That’s what happens to a lot of perfectly good writers.  They think themselves into failure.

I’d like to tell her to be tougher and that no book can be published if, after a few rejections, it’s tossed into a drawer.  But then, who am I to talk?  I’m dreading the thought of changing my water filter in the next few months.