STRINGS, STORIES and SILVER LININGS: Thoughts on Disappointment

IMG_0552This fall my son set his hopes on becoming a Peer Leader at his middle school.  He filled out his application, went for his interview and couldn’t wait to be paired with a younger child in this after school mentor program. As it turned out, he was not the only 7th/8th grader with Peer Leader aspirations. A record number of kids applied for a limited number of spots and so some potential leaders had to be turned down. My son was one of them. The program coordinator softened the blow by opening up other opportunities for kids to serve, including a Peer Tutor program which my son signed up for.

Still, he was greatly disappointed, so I suggested he take the “silver lining” approach. “Think how much more time you’ll have for other things,” I reasoned.

“I guess,” my son shrugged, “but I really, really wanted to be a Peer Leader.”

So much for passing along my “silver lining” outlook. Or so I thought. A few weeks later, however, my son came home ecstatic. No, he hadn’t suddenly become a Peer Leader. Something completely different and unexpected had happened. The band teacher needed back-up for the 5th grade band. Knowing my son played the double-bass in the orchestra, he asked my son if he’d be interested in playing string bass and electric bass for the 5th graders. My son had never played an electric bass before, but the band teacher said not to worry, he’d show him how. How awesome is that?!

Now every Thursday after school, my son races to the band room for his “extra gig” as we call it.  And every evening, after supper, he practices both the string bass and the electric bass.

And here’s the best bit, right from his mouth. “You know Mom, I couldn’t have done this if I’d been a Peer Leader because the times would have conflicted. I’m glad it worked out this way.”

As writers, things don’t always work out the way we want them to either. But as my son has learned, sometimes they turn out better. So, dear writing friends, instead of being disappointed that the last agent you queried didn’t offer you representation or that yet another publisher turned down a particular manuscript, follow my son’s example. Keeping writing and honing your craft. Keep subbing and keep an open attitude. It could very well be that a better publishing offer or a better agent match is just around the bend.

Happy writing and may this be the year of your best “new gig” ever!



15 thoughts on “STRINGS, STORIES and SILVER LININGS: Thoughts on Disappointment

  1. I love this post! I am definitely a silver lining person, but we all need that reminder now and then. Good luck to your son in the extra gig! I’m sure he’s not only helping out, but inspiring the younger kids as well – just like he was hoping.

  2. Sounds like your son has learned about that silver lining earlier than many adults do. I’ll let him be my reminder at those tough times when I am disappointed and don’t know what tomorrow brings.

  3. So true! I read somewhere that Gail Carson Levine had a similar feeling about what happened with ELLA ENCHANTED. At first it got rejected, but it was because it wasn’t as polished as it needed to be. And so she returned to the ms, reworked it, and it was picked up later to become the great book that it was. I like to think this is what will happen with my ms. 🙂

  4. Laura, I’m a very big “silver lining” person myself. That “when God closes a door, He opens a window” thinking. I sincerely believe it, but it was more through life experiences that actually PROVED it to me and allowed me to finally be a “let go and let God” type of person. I’m happy it happened for your son, too! It took him actually experiencing it to learn it, but how wonderful he learned it while he was young, due to you having opened his eyes to it 😀

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