I’m a firm believer in asking for what you want.
That wasn’t the case when I was a child. Experience had taught me that to ask for anything was pretty much a guarantee of failure, and that one had to take what Life threw at you because you could not influence the world around you.
How screwed up is that?
It took me a long, long time to break free of that early training. Now I subscribe to the attitude expressed so well in writer Hilary Mantel’s book Wolf Hall – “Don’t ask, don’t get.” The worst anyone can say is “no,” right? Embracing this ideal has earned me any number of rejections, but I’ve also had breakfast with science fiction writer L. Sprague de Camp and his wife Catherine Crook de Camp (a shout-out to Larry Tetewsky for being the one brave enough at the time to ask them to join us; a lesson I took to heart), and dinner with writer Harlan Ellison. That willingness to ask questions (“If I were willing to do an entire manuscript re-write, would you be willing to look at it?”) put my foot in the door at Ooligan Press, and look where that’s landed me: ELEPHANT SPEAK debuts on March 3!
So it’s worth asking the universe for things and then, when you can, putting into motion actions of your own to get what you want.
A week ago, I posted about the house I grew up in, and mentioned my first best friend, David Micklas. Writing about him prompted a desire to find him. What I found was his mother’s recent obituary, which mentioned the town in which he lived. So I looked him up on line, wrote a letter including my email address, mailed it, and crossed my fingers.
This morning, I woke to an email from David. In it, he mentions driving past our old property whenever he and his wife would visit the area, and that he always would remind his wife about his “first best friend who lived there” and how much he regretted letting a group of new-to-the-neighborhood boys influence him into dropping our friendship because he shouldn’t be playing with a girl.
He wrote: “I was young, stupid and really wish I could have been strong enough to not be influenced by their teasing. I missed playing with the plastic farm animals, making home made greeting cards and selling them to neighbors (glitter and glue was our secret seller). Riding our bikes down Plant Rd. to visit that horse (was it Prince?) I don’t remember. Visiting Mr. Plant and eating raw onions from his garden. I recall playing “Scare Crow,” that was on The Wonderful World of Disney. Do you remember that or did I dream this? Lol. Anyway, thanks to you, it really helped me develop using imagination and creativity that has come in handy for so many years. For all of that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart [and] felt compelled to make sure you understood how important you were to me, way back then and how your friendship will never be forgotten.”
Who says you can’t go home again?