Keep Calm and Carry On

January 18, 2010 at 7:33 am (Uncategorized)

There are distinct advantages to being a pragmatic optimist, the greatest of which is that I don’t tend to dwell on things I cannot change. I’ve grown more adept at this very thing because of my chosen career; when there’s so much rejection involved, reams and reams of it with not a single acceptance in sight, one does well not to linger.

So that’s the attitude I’m taking with the failed round of IVF. It failed. That was bad. And now we have no choice but to move on to the things we can do and the results that perhaps we can change. These opportunities all lie up ahead, somewhere in the reliably uncertain future, not sitting back there with last Friday, which I can’t edit and have over. It’s all very well in juvenile fiction, but in real life, it’s the last word in futile hanging on to all those Choose Your Own Adventure-type alternate endings when in fact you’ve already turned the page. I don’t like wasting my own time, nor anyone else’s, so I sort of packed up the pity picnic and left the crumbs for the ants.

My internal keel began reasserting its well-engineered will ¬†sometime on Friday afternoon, when I decided I needed to accomplish just one positive thing to end the day bobbing upright. So after receiving the Darkling stamp of approval (and you know, I’d really quite like us to have an official wax seal…), I sent off that short story I began back in November or December. I’ve entered it into a short story competition – a folly, perhaps, especially given my track record, but oddly the mere act of dropping it in a postbox made me feel better. I guess because it shows I am determined to keep trying. In many ways this determination is out of my hands; I don’t consciously cultivate my appetite, it’s just there, part of my make-up. I am voracious in most things.

So as with other disappointments in my life, the sad, sick, hopeless feeling just started breaking away, rather like a weak plaster-cast, sometime Friday night. I spent the evening with Llew and three of our great friends, and as the evening progressed and the laughter warmed my blood, I began to see that behind the crumbling clay lay my sterner stuff, intact and fighting for air. I was very glad to see it, and I spent the remainder of the weekend shaking off the dust and tearing at the suffocating prison of obsessing about things that cannot be.

Now I feel free to begin again. I can’t know the outcome, but that shan’t dissuade the attempt. After all, trying is half the fun.

Thanks everyone for all your kind thoughts and collective wisdom – you are quite a team!



  1. charlotteotter said,

    Thank goodness for love, friends and laughter – they keep us all going when things are grim. I do admire for your sterner stuff, Di, it is so clearly there, in your determination to both carry on writing and carry on trying. Big hugs to you, all the way from Germany.

    • doctordi said,

      Boy, don’t they? I reeeeally don’t know what I’d do without them!

      don’t really deserve the admiration, Charlotte – though I’ll take the hugs! – as I say, it comes from somewhere else and is largely beyond my control. I’m glad for it, though.

  2. Grad said,

    I haven’t been checking in with my blog pals lately. The Army base had Rob’s official memorial service on Thursday (it was brutal). His grandparents stayed with me until Saturday, so I was not able to do much else. The weekend was spent with Rudy and Judy who came in to discuss Shorty (also brutal). I was hoping to hear some happy sailing news from you, dear heart, when I checked in with you today. I am so truly sorry for your disappointment. But our DoctorDi is pretty unsinkable. You keep going, just as you are, and all will be well.

    • doctordi said,

      That’s tough, Graddikins. TOO MUCH SADNESS…and I hate that it’s yours. I’m so sorry about Rob, all over again and always.

      Oh no – what’s happening with Shorty?

      Perhaps with all these boating metaphors, we can take being upright as happy sailing news…? Don’t worry, Tails shall ride the high seas again very soon, she’s just getting a little TLC. Which we all need once in a while, after all. Who’s looking after you? I wish I could drop round with treats.

  3. woo said,

    Atta girl Di! And fingers crossed on the short story…

    • doctordi said,

      Thanks, Woo – I’ll be sure to report its practically inevitable slide into oblivion right here on DoctorDi!

  4. Lilian Nattel said,

    Way to go! That’s impressive, Di. I love the way you bounce back.

    • doctordi said,

      Lilian, thanks, but as I said to Charlotte of the Burg, I think it only gets to be impressive if it’s something I consciously work at… it really feels like cheating when I automatically shed dead skin and then get compliments about it. Do you know what I mean?

  5. litlove said,

    Good for you, Di. There’s plenty of this particular story left to run still.

  6. Pete said,

    Good luck with the story and I’m impressed with the fighting spirit and the ability to evolve and shed off the old layers. Unsinkable sounds right.

  7. doctordi said,

    Pete, thank you. FYI, today I’ve finished drafting a story earmarked for another competition… it’s currently with the Darklings. I’ll no doubt have some critical feedback to consider once they get a chance to read it, then off it goes. It’s been good offsetting the IVF stuff with smaller projects in Jan – whereas now I’m thinking MS #2 is much more in line with IVF #2…

    Take home babies might be nil, but at least my ‘take home manuscript’ count is coming along…

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