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!