Friday, January 29, 2010

Old bosses, revisions and Molly Ringwald

As I was leaving the gym this morning, I ran into an old editor of mine from my early days in the newsroom. We chatted for a while in the bitter 12-degree air, catching up a bit. She retired a few years before I quit the newspaper and while I see her occasionally, we don't talk often.

She asked me what I've been up to. I told her I had just finished my novel and was in the process of revising it before starting the submission process.

"Oh. Really?" she said. And she got that look on her face that I know all too well. If I had told her I was building a rocket ship in my basement, I would have received the same look.

I've seen that look a lot over the past three years. I had a great career, a successful career. And I threw it all away to write a fricken book? What the hell is wrong with me? Don't I care about my family? My financial responsibilities? My standing in the community?

Yes. I care about all of those things. Of course I do. And when I quit my job, it wasn't without a fairly substantial financial nest egg. And while I'm not willing to discuss my financial doings on this blog, suffice it to say that we're not starving.


This has been hard for me. More importantly, it's been hard on my family. But they have faith in me, more faith than I have in myself sometimes. They believe that I can sell this book and make money from it. They've read it. They love it. Without their faith, I would have quit long ago. And I'd probably be working at Wally World about now -- you know, as one of those old farts who smile at you when you enter the store. I mean, how hard can that be?

Well, I'm not there yet. And God willing, I will never be there. But if I end up as a Wal-Mart greeter, I will at least have the satisfaction of knowing that I tried. That I gave my dream everything I could give it. I know this: No one achieves their dreams without actually trying. And I'm trying. My best.

So I smiled at my old editor. She didn't piss me off. No. She motivated me. I came home, made breakfast and finished not one chapter revision, but two!

So there.

Oh, and it's Friday! Family movie night. And Molly is making a return appearance in the Towery home this evening.

We're watching Sixteen Candles at the 12-year-old's request (snicker). Next week, we'll finish the Molly Ringwald Trifecta with Pretty in Pink.

I hope you all have a wonderful evening and a superb weekend.


  1. Ohhh, I know that look well! I got it when I quit my job at Fleming Potter where I had worked for 13 years, yanked my pension plan and moved to Manhattan to follow my writing dreams. I love to see others following their dreams. Without dreamers this world would be a pretty dull place. I can't wait to buy your novel in a store out here and tell the cashier, "I know this guy!"

  2. From your lips to God's ears, Marty!

    And yes, I remember when you left. And look at you now! It can be done. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. I'm sensing a definite Molly obsession, lol

    Good for you for following your dreams. If the book is anything like the query, it certainly warrants your faith in it.

  4. Kudos to you for following your dream! These look-givers do not understand the concept of "you only live once." Or, perhaps they do understand the concept, and give "the look" because they feel disappointment in themselves for not following their own dreams.

    Good for you too for exposing your son to the classic teen films of the 80s. Do you think he can still relate to them as we did at the time? Or do those movies seem "dated" to him?

  5. The world needs dreamers, and the world needs doers. But above all the world needs dreamers who do. - Sara Ban Breathnach

    Saw you at Nathan's page. Regarding the above post, we all feel your pain. My family urges me constantly that I'm going to make it big someday, and have been the only reason I keep going. Fame and fortune would be nice, but more than anything, I just want that sense of satisfation that I did it. I actually did it.

  6. PS. No problem, and thanks for being the first person to ever comment on my blog ;-) I'm just that fabulous. Keep your chin up, and maybe someday we'll be famous. Or know someone through all this blogging that became famous because we spurred them on.

  7. Okay, I say that those of us who have let go of our 'wonderful' day jobs to take the risk and fulfill our dreams and become famous, or at least published, we celebrate. (Somewhere warm).

    Rock on Terry.