In 2015, a developer hired me to implement the reopening of a commercial building. Financial issues had abruptly stopped renovation work and shuttered the doors several years before. Walking through the partially-completed rooms and neat piles of still-in-the-box materials, I thought about the workers: diligently at their tasks until the closure forced a furlough, or possibly a lay-off. A whiff of lost dreams coated the air. Then, while inspecting the roof, I discovered a mound of construction debris tucked along a section of parapet. The natural, artful arrangement of those deteriorating materials impressed me as both a photogenic composition and as a quiet expression of loss and failure. Thankfully, I had my camera.
Last night, I thought about that building and this photograph, again, after facing the truth that my inaugural literary project will most likely be abandoned. There is no sensation so humbling as standing in a room filled with talent, and the excitement about that talent…and then comprehending: my project was dropped from the list. I will never be part of that group, of that excitement, of that journey. A crushing realization, but one which prompted the only logical action: I have suggested to the publisher that my manuscript be set aside and the contract cancelled. In comparison to the books they are preparing to release, my little manuscript - with its shortcomings, flaws and oddness- stands no chance. My suggestion was met with a look of relief and awkward comments - confirmation that they probably want to be rid of the millstone which was my contract, and probably me, as well.
In the walk back to my car, I don’t believe I took a full breath. My silly little dream – one that deserves no further explanation – was shared in this big, binary void to demonstrate an ability to promote, to chronicle what seemed to be firm steps towards my goal. My delusions of talent, of advancement, of possessing any toe hold into the literary world beyond that of a drudge volunteer, have actually been just the short wick for my glimmer of Hope. I cringe at the full knowledge of my folly; undoubtedly many people who I admire are sighing in relief, grateful that I have come to my senses.
Still, owning one’s failures is better than denying them. A clear, cold light burns about me, now. I accept that my writing path lies somewhere else, within Ever After.