FALLING OFF THE HORSE AND GETTING BACK ON

Falling off the horse and getting back on was not something that Jack Timbercan was very good at. He had tried to get his book ‘’The Visitors From Uranus’’ published but he consistently received rejection notices and he felt like giving up. He flipped through the letters in his hand and did a mental count, there were twenty-six of them.

All the letters shared the same sentiment, ‘’Great story, well written, but not for us.’’ Many of Jack’s friends had suggested he self publish, and he gave it some thought before completely rejecting the notion.

He had self-published on Amazon three years earlier. His book ‘’The Older Guy’s Guide To Dating’ had sold six copies, and three of those copies were to family members, so he wasn’t feeling very good about the online publishing world. On sites like Amazon and Smashwords there was so much clutter, it was hard to stand out. Jack wondered how many copies of the bible would have sold online.

Jack gave himself two more days and if he didn’t get any interest in his book, he would throw the manuscript in a drawer and move on. The question was to where?

When his dog Freckles started barking he knew it was a signal that the mail had arrived. He ran to the door and saw four envelopes. Two were bills and two were letters from publishers.

Jack thought about the effectiveness of mail over email. You could feel the texture of a letter and it just seemed to require a little more effort than sending a note via email that you and your book weren’t wanted.

The first letter was very straight forward. ‘’Dear Mr. Timbercan, We appreciate your interest in our company and thank you for submitting your manuscript. At this time we are sorry but our publishing schedule is full. We wish you much success in getting your book published, Kindest Regards.

The second letter was much shorter ‘’Dear Mr. Timbercan, We are not interested in moving forward with your manuscript. Sincerely.’’

No matter how many times he received those types of letters the rejection hurt and felt fresh every time. Jack had read and reread his book and he loved it, so why did nobody else seem to find it appealing. Jack tried to wipe away a single tear that was rolling down his cheek but uncontrollably a second tear started.

Jack took the letters and added them to the pile. Things had not been easy for Jack, he had left his job as the Director of PR for a major company to look after his ailing parents. He felt fulfilled in being around for them and trying to make their lives comfortable. He was satisfied with the knowledge that he knew they knew how much he loved them. When they passed they left a huge void in Jack’s life. It had been a ten-year journey.

He tried to get back into the Media/PR world but life had changed. Influencers were the hot ticket to spread messages and the ones he had met were self-indulgent maroons. He had to figure out social media and the most effective ways to get messages across using multiple platforms. Jack was elated when he told a new client they had sixty thousand people following their Instagram account. The Director of digital for the company, a twenty-five-year-old Millenial complained that their competition was up to nine hundred thousand followers and they were very displeased. Jack lost the account a week later.

Jack returned to his first love, writing. He did blogs, he wrote books, he created scripts. He was non-stop busy but his savings were dwindling quickly and he was feeling pressure from family members who felt he was wasting his time and not ‘’being productive.’’

Jack called a few old friends about possibly working with them on the PR side of their businesses and those who weren’t contemplating retirement were not interested. It was more rejection. One of the biggest insults came when a supposed good friend who was running a manufacturing company that he inherited from his parents, suggested Jack could become a Hit Man or a Greeter at Walmart if he couldn’t find work. Jack wanted to tell the guy to go Fuck himself, but what would be the point, he would just never talk to this supposed friend again. There was nothing worse than adding insult to injury and rubbing salt in the wound.

Jack went into his little kitchen, put on his kettle and boiled himself a pot of peppermint tea. He turned on his computer, checked emails and browsed job sites. He submitted a couple of online applications but he was skeptical. The world had advanced when it came to fighting certain ‘’isms’’, but ageism was still a problem that never seemed to get addressed.

Freckles came into the kitchen and snuggled against Jack’s leg which meant it was time for a walk. The weather was clear and brisk and their walk was leisurely but long.

When they got home, Jack let Freckles into the house and he jumped into his car for a drive to the cemetery.

He visited his parents and said a word to Gd asking for some help in getting a break with his writing. It was hard when you were the only one who believed in what you were doing. When ten people tell you to go home you’re drunk, you start believing them even if that’s not the case.

Jack was walking up his driveway when he noticed an envelope sticking up from his mailbox. It was another publishing house. He opened it up and almost fainted. The company based in Israel loved his manuscript and want to move forward with it. They also saw tremendous potential in turning ‘’Visitors From Uranus’’ into a Virtual Reality game.

For the first time in over a year, Jack felt validation and vindication. His book was going to get published, his dream was going to come true. He had an immediate thought which was if he listened to other people, he wouldn’t have been able to see his deepest desire become a reality.

After getting off a Skype call with his publishers in Israel, Jack felt energized and excited. He thought about all the naysayers and those who simply didn’t believe in him. It was an important lesson, hang on tight to your dreams. Always follow your heart. Freckles received some extra treats, and Jack took a couple of minutes to decompress. There was an important life lesson he had learned. Never give up, never surrender and never listen to other people when it comes to your dreams because if you do they will ruin them and you will never know what the sweet taste of victory really feels like.

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.

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