It’s a well-worn cliche that all good things come to an end. It’s also true that bad things come to an end, too, but we mostly seem okay with that. I remember years ago someone saying to me, “Endings are hard…even when they’re expected.” So here I am at the end of a bunch of things. The end of my MFA, the end of my manuscript, the end of my excuse to not put myself out there and find meaningful work. It’s been two years of ups and downs, a lot of learning, a lot of disillusionment, a lot of enlightenment.
I just had a meeting with my remarkable mentor who told me a story about the fight between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle (I had heard the names and the name of the fight, but wasn’t up on the lore). Ali used a method that came to be called the “Rope-a-dope” technique where he leaned against the ropes, covered his face, and let Foreman take his punches, which landed on Ali’s body and arms and thus didn’t score Foreman any points. Once Foreman was good and exhausted, just before the end of the eighth round, Ali landed one good hit to Foreman’s head and knocked him out. This fight, my own personal Obi Wan Kenobi said, is analogous to the writing process. You got to be tough, keep your hands up to ward off the blows of rejection after rejection, and then land the punch when the opportunity presents itself.
And so here I am at the end of this stage, about to leave the cocoon of grad school and go out into the world – a newly crowned MFA – and find someone to buy my scribbles. Rejection sucks but maybe I need to look at each rejection as if it were a blow from George Foreman – all that that rejection is doing is wearing those with the power to say yes or no down, tiring them out, until one day I land that TKO punch. And then it’ll be a new beginning, and new beginnings are not hard, not in any way.
The food portion of this blog is just to tell you that I’m making chicken, kale, and beans stew for dinner. I’m using the robin’s egg blue dutch oven that I “inherited” and making multi-grain rice in my InstantPot, which, for the record, is worth every penny. Go now to Amazon and buy one. It’s the frickin bomb.