Confidence And Clarity: Bringing Ourselves Into Focus
How Many of This Do You Want?
I’ve been in a funk lately. I entered it unwittingly and have had trouble finding the exit, and when I do, difficulty remembering where it is. I don’t like to use the word depression, which makes me feel blanketed – as though it’s wall-to-wall sorrow. There are always corners and areas where all is clear.
The other day, I was rooting around my work area and opened a drawer mostly forgotten. Inside was a large envelope filled with letters from about three decades ago. They were from friends – some with whom I’m no longer in touch, some with whom I still have contact, some with whom I remain close. As I read, the letters helped me spot those clear areas in me. The letters, at least for that moment, helped me remember.
We often focus on remembering. We like to remember the good: special occasions, landmarks, graduations, birthdays, vacations; and we also choose to ruminate on what feels bad, what we consider failures, betrayals, scary things, and pain. We tag these groups with either like (good) or dislike (bad).
Bummer – Rejected Again
Just as the difference between fewer and less continues to confound people, so does the difference between this kind and these kinds.
- “Fewer” deals with things that can be counted: You should have fewer responsibilities around here after that mess.
“Less” deals with volume: There is less water in the pond this year.
The trouble comes when that difference is not recognized, and people carelessly say “There’s less kids in the class this year.”
The same singular/plural situation arises when designating one item versus a number of items.
- Do you want more of this chocolate?
- Do you want more of these chocolates?
You often read about “these kind of vegetables,” instead of either “these kinds” or “this kind.” It’s the kind vs. kinds that confuse.
Okay, I thought of a few, coarser words to use in the title instead of “bummer” but really, do you need to have those in your head? You’ve probably said them enough already and with force because – well – who the deuce likes rejection? In addition, upon receiving the “u” word (“unfortunately”) from that editor last week, you may have resorted to kicking things like a two-year-old whose snotty little cousin just ate the last tater tot. One of my favorite rejections was from an editor who stated that, even though they enjoyed reading my story, they were going to “free it up” for another publisher to use. Seriously? I said more than “bummer” for that one.
Listen, we all kick and curse and shake our fists at the unfair universe. And then we settle into the second stage of rejection grief and feel sorry for ourselves, glare out the window, and boo-hoo-hoo. And if, in the throes, you’ve got your hand across your forehead and a cigarette dangling from your other hand, going all Sylvia Plath on everybody, I want you to do something. Snap out of it. You are in such good company, it’s ridiculous. I mean, think of all the editors who looked at Harry Potter, called it “bloody rubbish,” and gave it a toss.