I started 2017 by reading two autobiographies of well-known people. I usually have a hard-copy book in my living room and something on my Kindle for reading before I fall asleep. Tired of reading books in the genre in which I write, I ended up with these two nonfiction titles without realizing the significance. And I’m finding inspiration in both of them.
From two different eras and sensibilities, Debbie Reynolds and Bruce Springsteen have something in common. When faced with failure, both believed in their passions and had personalities built on tenacity, which allowed them to get up and try again.
Debbie’s death, the day after her daughter’s, hit me. I loved both Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, mainly because their personalities filled with humor in the face of adversity, had always impressed me. After reading half of Debbie’s Unsinkable: A Memoir, I understand even better that with Carrie’s death came a completion for her. She’d done her job as a mother. And despite set back after set back professionally and romantically, she carried on and saw her precious archives of Hollywood memorabilia go to those who paid top dollar and who preserve them. Her life was complete, and after all she’d gone through, she was just plain tired.
Now Bruce is still alive and rocking, but his story is equally compelling. I’m sure he had an excellent editor, but I know the writing voice is pure Bruce in Born to Run. There are times when I feel as if I’m falling into one of his songs. That’s how lyrical his prose is throughout his book. Bruce may be an icon today of working-class America, but he earned every bit of his blues-blowing credentials by living that life for more than two decades. And the rise to his amazing success would have flattened a person without his instinctual knowledge that he was a songwriter in the style of Dylan and a rock and blues man with talent. He never wavered from his belief in himself. And after every broken promise, every downtrodden dream, every false word of encouragement, he still rose and wrote and played his guitar.
Both Debbie and Bruce followed the same course, and it inspires me to keep trying with my passion. There are days when I feel like giving up, but then I continue to rise, filled with ideas and stories, and I put those down on the virtual paper on my laptop. I’m done following the crowd.
This year my goals are simple. Write, write, then write some more, and follow my own path to success after gleaning what I can from the success of others. And I plan on ignoring the bragging of other writers on Facebook about their output, their sales, their acceptances. That’s not where I want to spend my time. I’m investing in me and wherever that takes me, at least I’ve managed to follow my passion.
So here I am in the world of 2017 declaring to you that I will not give up. Nor should you.
Happy reading. And share the love of reading with those around you. We need it now more than ever.