"Glory Daze"

Okay– I know it’s obnoxious to post a photo of yourself when you weighed 119 pounds and all your dreams were coming true, but I want to use this newly dug out photo for my grade school alumni news as a tool of inspiration. This photo was taken in 1981 at my grade school graduation. That smile depicts THE LAST official “Glory Day” of my life (excluding obvious things like my wedding and the births of my children)……until I got my book published. In the realm of personal achievement, that was my Mt. Everest. I won the drama, art, writing, and speaking awards. That stack in my hands contains the proof.

In the 29 years to follow, there would be a desert in this regard. Nothing grandiose to put on my resume. So what, I wrote and completed 14 NOVELS. So what. Nothing to hold in my hand and show off. And the spiritual scum that ensued had me in knots.

On April 1, 2010, I had the next installment of “Glory Day.” I had a book published. But it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I spent the day in a NYC hotel room with the stomach flu. Cosmic humor abounding. Because as much as I wanted to be the answer to that dreamful girl in that white dress smiling and believing that the rest of her life would be one long drawn out “Glory Day,” I knew that glory days are myths. And that success lies inside us. Even and especially if we’re sitting on the couch with greasy hair feeling lumpy. Or throwing up in a hotel room on one of the most momentous days in our lives.

We create something, people do or don’t relate to it. We move on. And we create something else. Success is an illusion. But happiness is real.

To that end, I’ll tell you a secret. As much as the below picture is of me feeling the temporary bliss that comes from achieving a dream…it’s really just a fleeting moment. So to those of you who are beating yourselves up with your dreams, go easy on yourselves. Do what you need to do, create something you are proud of, and let go of the result.

26 Comments

Filed under A Place For Writers To Share, My Posts

26 Responses to "Glory Daze"

  1. I really appreciate this post Laura.

    It makes me happy to see your smiling young girl face so full of expectation. Dreaming big dreams.

    We have to.

    Writers write.

  2. Thanks for this, Laura! I’m going to print this out, enlarge the last two sentences and hang them next to my computer. Or, I might get them tattooed on my forearm. :)

    • lauramunson

      Oh good! Just don’t enlarge my 15 year old face. Squirmy to post that, but hoped it would help. yrs. Laura

  3. I realize I haven’t finished fourteen unpublished books, and therefore can’t speak to what that would do to my soul, but I feel like you’re being so hard on yourself, saying you accomplished nothing in twenty-nine years!

    You wrote – and finished – fourteen books! How many people can say that? Don’t let anyone, including yourself, diminish that accomplishment. Redefine what success is. Success isn’t “I got my books published.” Success is “every day I’m living true to my dreams, I’m believing in myself, even if the road is hard and the rewards are few and far between.” Success is finishing what you start so you don’t leave this world with regrets. Success is knowing what you want, and going after it. The day I finished my first (of a total of one and a half) novel, I cried. Because I was so freaking proud of myself. Do I hope to be published? Sure. But in the meantime, I’ve written a whole book. And more importantly, I’m living true to who I am. That is success.

    A fabulous life takes risks, and risking means we’ll be rejected, dejected. In my own life, I try to remember that the lows are a reminder that I’m doing my best, that I’m out there living and risking and trying. If I lived a safe, even-keel life, it surely would be easier – but that’s not who I am.

    You’re exactly right. We all need to be kinder to ourselves. And we all need to be more aware of all the ways our lives are beautiful. A sunny day, the scent of a rose, the kiss of a child, the purr of a cat, a quick line at the grocery store, a call from a friend, a perfect cup of tea, a day without bills in the mail – all these are moments of joy. All the moments of joy strung together, that is a happy life. And a happy life: THAT is success.

    xx

    • lauramunson

      I couldn’t agree with you more. A different relationship with “success.” I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. I spent 29 years being hard on myself. No more. Thanks for relating, Pam! yrs. Laura

  4. I’m in the process of working on a dream. Having the dream itself is pretty satisfying. This is what keeps me going sometimes.

  5. I appreciate your realism and reminders that life is really lived moment by moment. They come. They go. And, for the most part that’s “a good thing.”
    It’s refreshing to hear that someone else thinks in similar twists and turns (e.g., being hard on yourself when the euphoria of a successful milestone wanes, then noticing that you’re being hard on yourself, and THEN reminding yourself “it’s okay” and to let that unhelpful thought fly away, which is usually a good time to return to the present moment, taking it in with each of the five senses–one by one by one by one by one.)

    …Until the thought cycle begins again… Then wash, rinse, and repeat.

    I love your book.

  6. I can’t believe you wrote 14 books in 29 years! The sheer fact that you kept going… Writing the 7th and the 12th etc. despite the naysayers, is a much greater accomplishment than publishing one. Kudos!

  7. Barbara Richardson

    Thank you for speaking to me – directly to me – once again. I am listening and your words are helping me. Thank you.

  8. Becky

    Now how did you know exactly what I needed to hear on this particular day? THIS day, as I’m in the middle of working on exactly what you mentioned – making something I can be proud of?!?! Thank you for reminding me that the process is as important as the end result – the pursuing of my dream is as important as the fulfillment of it. And for what it’s worth, I didn’t find your posting of that beautiful childhood photo obnoxious in the least – it is full of hope, positive expectations, and the light of glorious youth. And it inspires me.

  9. You are a writer. I am a photographer. I am not a writer. I LOVE the way you express yourself. It feels as if you are reading my thoughtful mind. “Glory Day-s” come and go. They are fun while they last, but finding glory days in the mundane is the trick.
    Returning home to Chattanooga for my 30 year high school reunion tomorrow…

  10. Laura I loved this because, well, I feel like I’m walking where you once were and I was able to see you there and see what that was like. Somehow we crossed paths at the right time. Now, I’m about to publish a book. My book is due out in Spring 2012. Can’t believe it and part of that success is the light that you shined for others to see. You shared that light and you still have it. Every step you have taken has been an important one and each step, each moment should be celebrated. You are a wonderful person as you are.
    Success is fleeting, so true, but it depends how we define success. For me, living life, as it is, is a success. Love to you my friend. I love your honesty here.

    • lauramunson

      “Living life, as it is, is a success.” Thanks, Katherine, soon to be published author!!!! I agree. I’m so glad to have re-arranged my mind re: success a few years ago. It was in 2004, to be exact. And isn’t it interesting that THAT’S when “success” rolled in… I consider that re-arranging of the mind to be one of my greatest true successes. Thanks for your kinds words, sister-in-words. yrs. Laura

  11. Laura, you should be so SO proud of yourself :)

    • lauramunson

      Marian! You honestly saved my day yesterday! THANK YOU for your Twitter ideas. I managed to figure it out sort of, and now have dizzying self-promotional book wallpaper which I’ve got to fix. Paula at adhoc.com told me that a proff at Columbia Univ. teaches that first and foremost, social media is about generosity. That works for me. I liked your break down of retwests, promotion, and valuable content. Hope somebody helps YOU with something for free today! yrs. Laura

  12. Well inspiring idol for aspiring writers. Hope you recovered from the downturns in relation after your book got published. Well , i always feel that what we write from heart will touch others heart. The fictional stuffs written for the sake of creation might not have that magic which a real time experience can unfold. All the best for your future endeavors.

    • lauramunson

      Tis true there is power in memoir. Though I can’t wait to NOT be the main character in my next book! Thanks for reaching out. yrs. Laura

  13. Steve Armour

    Hey girl,
    You were beautiful then and still are today. Dad had a picture of you from back then, it was always one of his favorites.
    Not going to make it up your way this summer. Maybe next year?
    Hope all is well.
    Cheeers,
    Steven

    • lauramunson

      Okay, the son of my god-father. That just made me cry in the middle of a Friday summer afternoon. Thank you. I had no idea. Sending love to you and those ponies. ox Laura

  14. This post could not be more well timed for me, Laura. A writing grant I applied for was announced today. It was awarded to someone who is not me. For an hour or so, I wrapped myself in cords of misery, rereading my application and writing sample, judging them worthless. Judging myself as worthless.

    And then, I took a breath and remembered your 14 novels. Remembered that suffering is a choice. Came read and read “We create something, people do or don’t relate to it. We move on. And we create something else. Success is an illusion. But happiness is real.”

    I created a sample and a proposal. The people in charge did not relate, or did not relate as strongly to it as to other projects. Now it’s time to create something else.

    And let go.

    Deep thanks to you.
    j

    • lauramunson

      Jerri– you can look at it like it just wasn’t what they were looking for, rather than that you have done something bad, or wrong, or not good enough. It helps to look at it like a numbers game too. I had a piece in the NYT last Sunday. The piece I submitted prior, was rejected. It’s always hard though. I know so well. Glad this blog post helped. yrs. Laura

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