Like many of you, I have children who are polar opposites. One daughter sees the world through a half-empty glass; the other sees her cup as overflowing. This doesn't mean that rain can't fall on her, but when it does, she'll grab an umbrella and jump wildly through the puddles. I admire this about her. She wakes up and seizes the world with both hands. My desire is to emulate her. This applies to many aspects of my life, but often to writing. You see, what I've observed about this eternal optimism of hers is that she seeks and searches for joyful things--objects of hope and delight, security and beauty. See, this is the ceiling of her bedroom--cranes stretch across it, butterflies dance around her windows.
And, on the rare day when she's a little down, she'll find something soft and warm and lovely, and envelop herself in it. It's important to do this as writers too.
Recently, a few of my writing friends have had to make a hard decision. They've decided to follow a different road. After several years of hard, hard work, along with waiting and hoping for a story to be published, they've decided to put away their pens for now. This makes me sad. They are beautiful writers, but the publishing market, like the economy, is tough. Many times I've thought of doing the same. That's when I remember my "Hope Builders." You see, my dirty little secret is that I keep funny little treasures to lift my spirits. They relate to my stories in some way.
This is Sebastian Lee. My crit group jokes about this character. I was asked by a big publishing house to change him from a Chinese-American boy to a duck. Why not, I thought? It's worth it. But Sebastian Lee was rejected in his duck-like form as well. His sidekick, Fiona, changed for a Latin-American girl to a hedgehog. In my story, they're back to being human again, but these guys put a smile on my face and keep me hope for their future in print.
And this is my Double Happiness Box. I found it in an antique shop in Essex. I keep it as a sign that my Double Happiness Box story will be published some day as well. It's getting a little dusty, but the phoenix and dragon are faithful reminders.
And lastly, I discovered this card in a gift shop in Fort Myers. I envision two of my characters, Champ and Scooter, to look just like this. And yes, these objects may be a silly pipe dream but, like my daughter, I've chosen to believe in their future. Perhaps these "Hope Builders" will come to life someday through their very words. Just wait and see