Be Careful What You Wish For

When I was 8, I asked God to help my dad find a wife. Dad did find a wife. And she proceeded to turn our lives upside down with her madness and cruelty. When I was in high school, I tried to make this deal with God, “I don’t care if I can’t get a boyfriend, but could I please go to Prom?” I ended up with no boyfriend and no Prom and the boy who said he’d take me decided not to because–and this is a quote–“I wanted to take someone who will impress my friends.”

My list of such stories is long. And after a while I figured the lesson was something along the lines of–stop asking for stuff. (And that when I didn’t get what I wanted, I was lucky.)

So I try really hard not to pray or wish for an agent, publication, or to hobnob with Neil Gaiman and Audrey Niffenegger because if I had any of these wishes answered that way, well, it would end in tears.

I keep working. Writing. Biting my tongue when the urge to wish stirs in my heart. But I slip up. All these wishing scars and still I find myself in a bookstore wishing…

Is there such a thing as a wishaholic?

Anyway, an agent has asked to see more pages. Consider how much time it takes to read/edit pages, get an agent, get a publisher, get a publication date, get into stores, and I figure that I could conceivably have a novel reach bookstores in time to see the bookstores collapse. And don’t talk to me about ebooks.

There a hundred good things about ebooks. I know. But I didn’t grow up wishing–yes, I said it–for people to turn on a computer and see my book. The digital world is just so much ether, so much nothing to hold on to. Everything one stroke away from the delete key.

A book published only online would be fine. That would be okay. Sure. It is better than nothing. And having a romance strictly online is better than nothing. With a webcam it’s like you’re in the same room! Except, of course, it isn’t.

Then again, the things I’ve wished for don’t exactly work out anyway.

Do you believe in wishing?

6 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Wish For

  1. The problem is that we wish for the wrong things. We think we are so wise. We make the wrong assumptions. Instead of wishing for someone to love and take care of us, we wish for a mother. Instead of wishing for a true friend, we wish for someone to take us to the prom. What we should really be wishing for is love, fulfillment, peace of mind, happiness, joy, etc. Then let the chief wish fulfiller decide how to accomplish our wishes.

    Yes I believe in wishes but we need to make our wishes very simple and clear.

    The problem with most of us is that we have no clarity about what we really want. Then we make the wrong wishes.

    Wish for answers to your questions – they will come.

    . . ./John

    1. Exactly so. It is a common mistake in fairy tales–the individual is allowed to make a wish, and so the wish proves unclear or undesirable. The person doesn’t think it through. In the TV series (now off the air) called The 10th Kingdom a character gets to make 6 wishes. Each one only serves to make his life more difficult because they are impulsive and selfish.

      Wishing for answers is wise advice.

  2. I like what John said. (Almost added, Wish I’d written it myself.)

    There’s a subtle difference between hoping and wishing. Both have something to do with desiring a particular future, but wishing (to me) feels like striking a bargain with a salesman you never meet, who’s offering you a contract footnoted with too much print much too fine to read. And the laws of unintended consequences are always lurking behind the scenery, just waiting for you to open the closet door (there’s a sign on it which says, “Open Me” (with a tiny little “;)” icon in the bottom right corner)) so they can push all the pots and pans on your head.

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what I want from my writing, stirred by some of your posts here. There’s so much beyond my control — apparently beyond anyone’s control — that wanting anything other than a book written to my satisfaction feels like a dangerous game.

    1. Yes, “striking a bargain with a salesman” or, let’s say a wolf. So true. And you’ve made me think to look for a clip from The 10th Kingdom to add to this post.

  3. About all my wife and I wish and pray for is a life of grace and dignity, and for thre most part we have found that. Writing helped us get there, so continue the journey.

    Dr. B, author, “”The Mandolin Case”

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