Kati’s Reply (and Mine)
I wanted to post Kati’s letter as soon as it came in because I felt certain that there would be a strong and passionate response. But the outpouring of support, encouragement, tough love, not to mention some pretty deep wisdom overwhelmed me. I think it overwhelmed Kati too.
My thanks to everyone who wrote in. The notes were so heartfelt and contained so much kindness and caring, it almost didn’t matter what specific “advice” or kicks-in-the-pants they contained. The gesture was everything.
Kati responded right away, but because her reply appeared in the Comments section on the same day the original post ran, I’m afraid some people might have missed it.
So here’s Kati’s note to everyone who wrote in to her:
This is Kati who wrote the letter.
Thank you so much for all your comments!
I sent that email to Steven at 4 am, which, of course was a bad idea. I was totally fed up with everything and experienced a sudden need to just yell at the Universe. But there was no one up there, so I yelled at Steven instead, which was unfair, of course.
Unexpectedly Steven replied while I was still awake and said he wanted to publish my letter. Go ahead, I said, still mad.
(Btw, I am a Finn, from Finland. We are honest folks. When things go wrong, we say it. Out loud.).
I felt bad and so I said it. Out loud.
Was my feeling justified? Yes and no.
No because I live in a welfare state and have really nothing to worry about.
And yes because of course we all have the right to feel what we feel.
Maybe sharing these feelings in the internet is not such a great idea because our feelings change. Constantly. The state of mind I was on Wednesday, February 5th, at 4 am, is gone. But what is released into the world wide web stays, if not forever, for a very long time.
Do I regret I sent my email?
I don´t know. But if there is someone out there, reading these words, feeling lonely and lost, I just want to say: you are not walking this journey of trials alone. Because a journey of trials it is. And it is OK even if it sucks at times.
And when it sucks, go ahead and yell! You can yell at me! Steven has my email address.
At 4 am, last week Wednesday, while staring at the bedroom ceiling, I decided to write a book about failing. Because failure always comes at the heels of success. It is an essential part of creative endeavours. I know you are not supposed to use the f-word, but I dont care. I think it is healthy sometimes to look the devil in the eye and call it whatever you want to call it.
Is writing really a bad idea?
I guess it is a bad idea the same way having kids is a bad idea. Your heart will break and there will be tears and you are so tired all the time. And yet. There is also bliss. Unimaginable joy. Euphoria.
There is LIFE in all its twisted glory.
So please dont listen to me. Keep on writing, you guys – but not for success. Write to tell us your truth. Because we need to hear it. I need to hear it.
Don´t give up.
With love and blessings,
And here’s my own e-mail to Kati, after I asked her and she gave me permission to publish her letter in a Writing Wednesdays post.
I’ll publish your letter then, Kati. It’ll be very interesting to see how people respond. Of course yours is everybody’s nightmare scenario. It’s in everybody’s head all the time, whether they address it or try not to think about it.
My own answer is that of course the dream of making a living as a writer is a tremendous long shot. The odds are overwhelmingly against success, particularly today with Amazon and Google where, what, half a million new books are published every year?
To say we want to succeed financially in that jungle is like saying we want to be professional basketball players. It’s easier to become a brain surgeon. At least you can go to school for that.
That said, the idea of following one’s Muse is a lifelong enterprise, one that we are faithful to for its own sake and its own rewards and not for worldly success. That to me is not only an honorable and noble and admirable way to live but the ONLY way for many of us. I know it’s the only way for me. I couldn’t do anything else.
Are you familiar with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of “Eat Pray Love” and other books? She has dealt with these internal issues in a very serious manner. She says that, at the start of her adventure into a writing career, she “made a deal” with her writing. She said, “I will never ask you to support me. I will always support you.”
She got lucky of course, and had a huge hit after not very long. But I like her attitude a lot. She said to herself, “I am a writer. That is my calling and I intend to follow it lifelong, whether it pays off financially or not.”
Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita that we have a right to our labor, but not to the fruits of our labor.
P.S. It probably helps too not to publish in Finnish with five million potential readers, rather than in English with a billion or so.
That’s my answer!
There’s a final thought I’d like to add. This is for our readers and for everyone who wrote in.
Sometimes when I’m writing these posts, I wonder if I’m crazy to keep doing them. Some posts will get three Comments, or four, or six. I find myself asking, Is anybody out there? Is any of this doing any good?
These answers to Kati made my day/week/month.
Thanks to everybody.
I think we may actually have a bit of a community here.
That’s what I was always hoping for.
Nobody said the path we’ve chosen is easy. As Freddy Mercury once sang, ” … it’s no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise.”
But there’s definitely consolation in all of us reaching out to “one of our own” with love and acceptance and encouragement.
And now, Kati, as my old mentor Paul Rink once told me,
“Start the next one tomorrow.”