Wednesday, March 03, 2010


So, I've been a bit busy lately and haven't really kept up with all the posts here at the BRG as well as I should. So I am just catching up on Meghan's posts about the "dark side" of being a children's book creator. And while I agree with what Meghan has written (bookstore signing can be completely depressing), I wanted to add a bit more encouragement to the overall picture.

At my wedding, my science genius cousin (he really is a genius, he's working to find a cure for Alzheimer's) Austin gave a little speech at my wedding. Earlier in the day, he had been untangling his guitar strap and Alex had made a comment about how the straps always seemed to get tangled, and why was that? Entropy, Austin said.

According to him, as soon as factors occur--someone moving the guitar, lifting the strap--there are an infinite number of ways for it to get tangled but only one way for the strap be perfectly straight. When you think of the probability of the strap staying straight, it is actually close to impossible. And if you take this metaphor and apply it to life and the changes that must occur--love, death, work--you realize that it is impossible for that road to be straight as well. It is impossible for life to be as you plan at the start. But once you accept that, that life is going to be mixed up and changed and tangled--unexpected and amazing things can happen.

And that applies to working in our field. Nothing is worse than self defeat. Don't let the tangles tie you down. The road to publishing and staying published is never a straight path and I doubt it is ever easy. But if you just accept that it is entropy and keep going, it might surprise you in wonderful ways.

(at the wedding, listening to entropy)


Janine Leaver Burgan said...

Thanks, Grace. Your perspective refreshes me as I shop my manuscript around and query, query query. I need to stop obsessing and enjoy the adventure.

Congratulations on your marriage. May the years that follow be as joyful as your wedding day. Looks like it was a wonderful day.

Unknown said...

That is just so brilliant-- I'm pretty sure Austin isn't the only genius in your family! And BIG CONGRATULATIONS!

Anna Alter said...

That was just the best wedding speech ever (though I loved Alvina's too) and so true about many things in life.

Elaine Magliaro said...


It was truly the loveliest wedding I have ever attended. All your planning, hard work, and creativity made for a special day not just for you and Alex--but for all of us who were there to share that special day with the two of you.

You have a wonderful family. I love Austin. He's brilliant...yet down to earth, easy to talk to, and has a terrific sense of humor. It was good to see him again--and to listen to his wedding speech.

Meghan McCarthy said...

It's true that life is a tangled mess... but you must learn from your mistakes so that they don't happen again. So, what I'm suggesting (in perhaps a negative way) is that you learn from your disasters so that you don't repeat. Because life might be unpredictable but it's also very predictable in certain ways--kind of like how you always know the guitar strap will be tangled. If you know that 90% of your booksignings end in disaster then don't do them! So yes, you should try to enjoy what comes your way but you should also try to avoid what you know makes you stressed and unhappy because most problems don't get fixed by themselves. You must be proactive!

I did like his wedding speech. I liked everyone's wedding speech!

Libby Koponen said...

I thought it was the best wedding speech I've ever heard, and like Austin himself: brilliant but so unassuming about it -- and funny. The speech wasn't even planned -- I wish I had it on tape! The whole wedding was lovely. But I've already commented on that.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Grace! It looks like such a beautiful wedding filled with loving friends and family.

I do think there is an aspect of acceptance that brings "grace" into our lives. I also believe that one can exercise some choice in how our live unfold. Whether it is recognizing a life partner or choosing the best ways to try and translate one's art into a living, we all take our accumulated experience and try to make the best choices.

I wish you both happiness.

Anonymous said...

What a great speech! I'm going to forward it to my MFA group. Persistence combined with joy in the process (whether it be writing or something else) is key - at least it is for me. I haven't read the book, "Surprised by Joy" but it's one of my favorite titles.

-Heather J.