Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe
Once you've been chosen,
what step can you take...?
Seventeen-year-old Sara's dream of becoming a star ballerina is challenged when she falls for Remington, an older choreographer. Instead of success onstage, she becomes Rem's muse, which is a future she never considered--and one that threatens to break her heart.
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So excited about Stasia's book! Sounds so romantic! It's got me thinking about dreams, too--and what we have to give up to make them come true. Dancing was never really in my future. It requires money to take classes, and that's just something we didn't have. Then I thought I'd be an actress. I remember swearing on my life to my friend Kelli that she'd see me on the big screen someday. Totally straight face, too. But, pretty hard to find acting gigs in Squatsville, Indiana. I said I'd find my way to New York or Hollywood. Then life just happened. But. Dancer, actress...I must not have wanted it that bad. Because, seriously, how much did I really try? Could I have found a way to pay for dance classes? Could I have found a way to go to New York or Hollywood? Can I blame anyone but me for not trying?
So, here's the thing. I've always been a writer. I don't remember not writing my little stories. In sixth grade, I wrote a play called Preps and Hoods (gag), and then talked my homeroom teacher into letting me use his back room as a rehearsal area for me and my cast. It all went very well until the cast got defective and wanted to do nothing but chat and chew bubble gum. Whatever. But the weird thing is, I never really thought about doing anything with those stories. Because I was going to be an actress. So did I always know deep down that this wasn't my path? Was it fate that would keep this dream from me?
Well, no. It's just life. But in losing (giving up) that dream, I discovered something miraculous: you don't get just one dream. Except, okay, publishing? It's right up there with trying to become an actress. The only difference is I can look like a toadstool in pajamas and still do it. Oh, also, I can do it in Squatsville, Indiana. SCORE. But the work? The luck? The same, I think. This business is hard. It's filled with ups and downs. FOREVER. Those rough times don't stop until you stop publishing.
So why do it? It's not like I'm getting paid. No guarantees. Fever pitch stress. Well, I do it out of passion, of course. And hope. I want it so bad. Like way more bad than I wanted to be an actress. Clearly. Because the last time I got more than five hours of sleep was in 2008. I didn't lose a wink to be an actress.
So, I guess, when you're feeling really low, because it feels like everyone is making it and you're not, and you're wondering what's wrong with you because you've accumulated 19 manuscripts, and your name has yet to grace the cover of a book--ask yourself how badly you want it. It's OKAY to say: "I don't want it that bad." You'll find another dream. But if you want it bad enough, you're gonna write manuscript 20. Plain and simple. There are no guarantees; life isn't fair; you may never be published. But the moment you stop trying is the moment that you know for sure you won't make it.
Some people can achieve a dream without struggle, sure. They're called delusional. The rest of us have an uphill battle. That's what makes it a dream. I like having Coke Zero every morning. I LOVE it. But it's not a dream because it's easy*. A dream requires sacrifice. If it doesn't, it's not really a dream. It's just Coke Zero. So, if you manage to publish (act, dance, whatever) really easily, then one: you lucky sonofabitch; and two: you need to make your next goal to be Presi-Emperor of the Milky Way.
*This is not to say that Coke Zero can't be someone's dream. Perhaps you are allergic to bubbles.