“This is too much,” I moaned, upon checking my inbox. Six rejections in five days. All those thanks-but-no-thanks responses were enough to make me wish I’d taken up zoology instead of creative writing.
Years ago, before I started writing books, my humor writing sales weren’t exactly topping the charts. I wanted to hang a sign around my neck that read, “Will Walk Your Dog for Laughs.” And it wasn’t as if I didn’t try. At one point, I had as many as thirty humor items circling various editors’ campfires. I mean, couldn’t they see the value of my hilarious, laugh-a-minute creations?
I talked it over with my pal, Fran. Her reaction? “Come with me to a pottery class.” She headed up a small group of amateur potters. “Slap some mud around. Make some mud pies.” She eyed me with suspicion. “Get rid of all that hostility.”
“Frustration,” I corrected her. “And I’ll bet you’ve never received rejection notices.”
“No, but I have had two men walk out on me.” Hmm, she had a point.
So, being the curious person I was, I agreed to attend her next pottery class and see what this medium called clay was all about.
Once inside the pottery studio, I became immersed in the muddy stuff. While kneading a slippery, slimy ball of clay, my thoughts wandered to a comedy piece I’d been working on. The article had stalled out due to a so-called writer’s block the size of Detroit. But then, a strange thing began to happen. The act of working with the clay—smoothing it, coaxing it, squishing it through my fingers—somehow helped revitalize my brain waves. The simple act of holding and stroking the moist ball of clay somehow got those creative juices flowing. It was as if losing myself in the clay actually helped me tap into my inner resources.
As my humble little mound of clay began taking shape, so did my article. I felt as if I’d turned a corner.
“Your clay is great therapy,” I chirped later, while out on a power walk with Fran.
“Told you so,” she said, looking smug.
I went home, polished off that article, and sent it out. From then on, I promised myself I would keep a supply of clay on hand . . . just in case. As a bonus, I’ve even created a few “masterpieces” of my own. For example, I once made a vase that someone actually recognized as a vase. Everything aside, I am pleased to report that an online publication later bought my article. Yahoo! (And complimentary wine samples all ’round.)
Thinking back, I was happy I took my friend’s advice. So now, when writing efforts prove defeating, I walk away from my computer and get “muddied up” with my little supply of clay. And because this bit of therapy helps, I’d say making mud pies isn’t just for kids any more.