Friday, March 4, 2011

If It Doesn't Almost Kill You, It's Just Coke Zero

Have you seen Stasia Kehoe's new cover? Isn't it awesome? When I was little I used to dream about being a dancer. I don't know that I ever had a choreographer or dance partner quite like this, though. Daaaaang.

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

Audition_JKT.indd
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.

Mark it as To-Read on Goodreads

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.


Share your audition story
  at Stasia's new blog
A YEAR OF AUDITIONS

30 comments:

  1. Writing is art and that art is my obsession. Words are also an obsession - an addiction really. The 1924 edition of the Oxford Compact Dictionary that graces my book shelf has some of the most exquisitely beautiful words therein.

    My dream...is to be surrounded by words and to mold them like clay into a beautiful object.

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  2. this post...is KICK. ASS. seriously, i completely agree with you here. sacrfices, theyre a hugeee part of this business. you cant do without 'em. thinking of those peoplez who made it so easily, it only makes your condition so much worse. i mean, seriously, come on, is being jealous of them going to get you an agent/book deal/finished manuscript? no, writing and editing the heck out of it will.
    also, your comment on my review totally made my day! thank you so much for your kind words. about the accounting thing, thats more of my back-up plan and a way to get my parents off my back. hehe. and obviously literature is a part of my future, ill always be writing. maybe one day ill even be published, who knows, eh? one can always dream. don't we all?

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  3. I'm not sure I can be okay with you writing two amazing reviews in a single week. There is already no way I will catch up on all these amazing books, and now I just feel bad about it.

    Just kidding. Another great review Carol. One of my favorite things is reading a review about a book that I would normally never choose, but the review makes me go ... hmmm?

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  4. And I have to add - the above featured cover is just divine. It's simple yet elegant and it has sensuality that draws you in.

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  5. Carol, I just sat down at my computer and the first thing I read was your beautiful post. Beyond a perfect start to my day. I have tears in my eyes...the GOOD kind. Thanks you so much for your words and for sharing my cover!

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  6. You know how close to my heart this is. Beautiful post; thank you for writing it, love.

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  7. It's as though you have peeked into my heart.

    I struggle with my dream to become published but, in the end, I realize it's more about WRITING stories. If someone told me I'd never, ever be published, would I still write? After I cried and pouted, the answer would be yes, because I've never felt more self-fulfilled until I devoted myself to seriously writing. So maybe I'll write for thousands (dare to dream millions) of people some day. Or maybe I'll write for a limited audience of 30-50, but one thing is sure: I will write.

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  8. You just made my day, maybe even my year. I'm going to bookmark this and come back to it each time I feel discouraged. You're right, is about how bad we want it and how hard we're willing to work for it. I'm in it for the long haul. We can drink Coke Zero together. ;)

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  9. This post is WAY better than Coke Zero.

    Love you,
    L

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  10. I'm looking forward to Stasia's novel too! Unlike a lot of little girls, I never wanted to be a ballerina but I admired that kind of dancing. It looks so effortless and beautiful!

    I wanted to be a lot of things when I grew up–teacher, astronaut, marine biologist, Olympian-but one dream stayed the same and that was author. I've always had that dream!

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  11. Okay - literally laughed out loud at the word "delusional"!! You said it all just right!!

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  12. THis line: But the moment you stop trying is the moment that you know for sure you won't make it. -- SO true. My husband and I say 'you'll miss 100% of the shots you don't take.' (Can you tell he's a basketball player?) But it's true. Great post.

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  13. ooooh thank you so much for blogging about this book. I'm going to have to go over there and submit my audition story.

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  14. Awesome post (and review). Your words are something that I SO needed to hear today on dreams. Have a great weekend!

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  15. Good luck with your dreams and have all the Coke Zero you want. (I prefer regular Coca Cola, but I can't have all that I want due to all the calories so I treat myself to 3 or 4 a week).
    Excellent post. I wanted to be an actress, singer, teacher or veterinarian. I've been an extra on a few TV shows and a music video, sang backup on Vince Neil's microphone at a concert for five seconds, and I was a teacher. And I have two dogs that I take to the vet. So yeah, I'm going to say I sort of accomplished my dreams! :) And now I share your dream of being published. And I know we will both do it and have our Coke too.

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  16. You'd've made a great actress. You could've been, like, the next Angelina Jolie. And now I'm imagining you punching the hell out of James McAvoy. Interesting image, that....

    But yes. If you want it bad enough, you'll make it happen, one way or another. And usually that one way is to lose a shizzload of sleep. *sigh*

    You rock.

    (P.S. My next goal is to be the Emperor of the Milky Way. Ming the Merciless'll have nothing on me, baby.)

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  17. Beautiful post, thank you so much! (Also, I wouldn't have quit ballet after eleven years if my choreographer had looked like that!)

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  18. Love this post, and your outlook and your passion for writing. I have no doubt your name will grace the cover of a book.

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  19. Inspiring post! I'll have to come back and visit whenever I feel discouraged.

    Fabulous blog! I can't believe I haven't visited before. But I do remember a rockstar version of you in a video for Across the Universe. Loved that!

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  20. I hear the benefits are really good for President Emperor of the Milky Way.

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  21. So true. And most published writers at some point were there. It's hard. But you're right, if it wasn't hard, the victory wouldn't mean much!

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  22. That is a great book cover. I wish her the best with it!

    Jai

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  23. I had this little epiphany the other day while driving to work that we have all made it already. (Oh god, this probably is not going to make any sense and sound lame.) But, published or not, if we are working on what we love doing (e.g., writing, acting, dancing), then we are already doing what we love, which is a blessing, right? That's actually the good part.

    Keep in mind, I was mid-coffee when I had this epiphany, which is when the caffeine kicks in and makes me happy.

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  24. I know what you mean - I've realized other dreams I used to have are not for me, but writing has always been the constant.

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  25. Yes, it is an uphill battle, and people who don't believe it are delusional.

    Being published has always been my dream. I think I almost hit the 20 mark with manuscripts.

    Loved this post! And the book looks awesome.

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  26. I love this post, Carol. Dreams can be a touchy subject with some people but you nailed it. I actually had a similar post planned for later this week. *Pout* Oh well. Awesomeness comes in twos.

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  27. That sounds to be a great book! Thanks for the review!

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  28. I love this, thanks so much for reminding me of my own dreams. :)

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  29. Once you achieve your dream, it's on to the next one as well. Each step along the way can make you want more. It can be the dream to see your name on the cover of a book. Then when you achieve it, what happens? Success brings more opportunity to reach higher - dream bigger.

    Maybe you're afraid to dream big... afraid to reach for the pinnacle, but believe contentness lies closer to the ground. Afraid to dream for the fear of not fulfilling the dreams. So start with the smaller dream, name on the book cover, next dream? To sell lots of copies. Dream after that? NYT best sellers list? Writing full time? Critical acclaim? The sky is truly the limit.

    But when you have achieved all of your dreams and made them come true, and you're still driven to write - there is your passion. The road is never easy - despite what it might appear from the outside sometimes - and can be long, but the journey gives us tons of experiences, and in the end we have more to write.

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  30. Totally agree with your post. I've sacrificed a lot for my studies just so that I could qualify and get into a successful career. Coming from a long line of women who've never studied at university or worked, I find that I'm driven to achieve- and achieve big. Unfortunately, my achievements come at the expense of my social and family life. While it's okay for me to make these sacrifice when they affect no one but me, I can't help but question whether it's too high a price to pay sometimes for something I'm not really sure will make me happy...

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