The Daffodils, the Dolphins, and Me

At some point early in my writing journey a well-meaning mentor informed me that I was, “No Faulkner.” I absorbed this information with red-cheeked silence, while inside me I heard, “That’s right. I’m Kenower.” Perhaps this mentor only meant that I had yet to master my craft. Perhaps this mentor meant I needed to learn to walk steadily along the straight line of a story before I ran the slalom of experimental fiction. Just as likely, however, was that this mentor felt it was time I accepted the hard truth that only a handful of geniuses are born every generation, and I wasn’t one of them.

I declined to accept this, and over the years, despite rejection letters and an empty literary trophy case, I have done so again and again and again. I do not care whether anyone ever calls anything I write or have written “genius.” I do not care about literary awards or publishing contracts. I simply decline to call myself or the work I do lesser than the same as I decline to call my children lesser than. When I look at my children I mostly wonder how long it will take them to see their own perfection.

I feel often like a child of life. I am sure life wonders as only life can how long it will take me to see my own perfection. Life remains the parent upon which all parents should base their efforts, loving as it does with absolute equality the daffodil and the dolphin. And because life declines to judge its own creation, I won’t call any of its creations lesser than either, even when one of those creations is me.

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