Thursday, August 18, 2011

Math, Star Wars, and the Only One

In sixth grade, my grade mixed with the fifth grade to form math classes based on skill. Each class went for four to six weeks, then we took a test. If we passed that class, we moved onto the next highest one. If we failed, we stayed in the same class.

Since math was my favorite subject EVER, I always went to the top math class. And that class was always taught by the same teacher— one who also managed a local movie theater / arts center. If you passed his class, he gave you free movie tickets.

The last class of the year was one they had never taught at our elementary school before because it was HARD. And because it was so unbelievably hard, he dangled an unbelievable award in front of us. A special showing for the theater employees of ALL THREE STAR WARS MOVIES! Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, one right after another. It was a never-been-done-before epic event. And since it was a special showing, you couldn't buy tickets. They had to be given to you. I wiped away the drool and decided right then those tickets were mine.

At its core, math is all about rules. I’m a rule follower. Math and I love each other. We spent a lot of quality time alone together during those six weeks.

At the end, I took the test with all the confidence of someone hanging out with their bff, and passed! On the Saturday morning of the showing, my mom dropped me off at the theater for nearly seven hours of movie watching bliss. I walked in and realized I was the only one in my class who had passed.

Seven hours of movie watching.... alone.

Had I been a wise girl, I would've realized that as a group, we had the power to get every single one of us there if we had helped each other out. If we had used our strengths to help pull up the group, and let other people's strengths help us pull up our own weaknesses. Not only would we have had more fun during the preparing, we'd have had so much fun AT THE MOVIE.

For all of us who have ever had aspirations of being published, we've looked at that elusive book deal, wiped away the drool and decided right then that a book deal was ours.

Writing can be a lonely profession. Most of the time, we write alone. We read books and blogs about the craft alone. We sit in dark rooms or go on walks or do the dishes while plotting and working through scenes alone. But if we work and work and work and finally make it, do we really want to sit in that victory seat all alone?

I’m guessing no.

Which is why it's so great that we have the power to rise together. To use our strengths to pull others up, and to use the strength of others to pull us up from our own weaknesses. Not only does being a part of this amazing writing community help each of us to reach our goals, but makes the journey SO MUCH FUN.


Nicole McLaughlin said...

I loved this post!! What a story, and you are spot on. When you get a book deal...I'll bring the popcorn!;)

Isis Rushdan said...

Wonderful post. Writers definitely need to stick together and support each other. This business is lonely and tough. We face so much criticism and rejection that we need to encourage one another to persevere.

Emily R. King said...

Great post! Oh, and I love your new background. The cartoon of you is spot on!

Shilpa Mudiganti said...

This is a brilliant post. Writing is lonely and sometimes, wish I had company. But if i have to choose maths and writing alone, i would always choose writing! I suck at maths!

Ruth Josse said...

Loved the comparison! I hope I have someone to celebrate with and I look forward to joining the victory dance of great writers.

Love your new header!

Carrie Butler said...

Yes! This is the best post I've read all week. :D

Jessie Humphries said...

You and me girl...all the way!

Abby Fowers said...

Unbelievable post! I love this. Very inspiring and true. It is part of what I love about the writing community. Everyone is so supportive and ready to share. It's wonderful.

Laura Josephsen said...

This is fantastic and SO TRUE. I don't know where I'd be without such people. It's awesome when we can get help and give help, no matter what stage of the journey we're in, and work together. Writing doesn't have to be lonely.

Thanks for sharing this!

Jenny S. Morris said...

You had me at Star Wars! This post is great, and so true. I'm just starting to understand the power of the writing community and how great everyone is.

Tara Tyler said...

that was a bittersweet post. glad it had a great ending!
what did writers do before the internet? probably more quit!
i <3 star wars and math too =)

Jeff King said...

Awesome post… very uplifting!

It is so true, that we make writing a solo endeavor, and it is sad if you think about it.

I’ll have to rethink my perception of my predicament, or station if you will.

Writing is more than I, it is now, WE!

linda said...

Wow, great point about the importance of community! And I love the new blog design. :)

Lan said...

This post says so many things that I've been thinking a lot about since I started blogging and writing. People always asks published authors whether they're envious of other more successful authors and they're surprised when they come up against a lack of animosity. Writer's are a smart bunch and know that the success of one book often leads to readers wanting more of the same or even branching out. The more we help each other the better our chances of success. Sure I'm envious of many authors whose books I am in awe of, but that only makes me more determined.

Unknown said...

What a fine way to make an important point. I blog for mostly writers and not readers yet so we should use that time and space to help each other. I know that I'm truly excited when each writer has success.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I have loved your comments, everyone! Yesterday was crazy, and so is this morning, but I'll be back this afternoon to comment on your comments.

J+S said...

Very thought provoking - and definitely applies to all of the good things in life. BTW, Karly says, "Hello."


Peggy Eddleman said...

Nicole-- Deal! And when you get yours, I'll bring cookies.

Isis-- I totally agree.

E.R.-- Thank you, thank you! I love how it turned out.

Shilpa-- Thanks! And yes. Who wouldn't choose writing over math? We definitely got the better end of the deal. :)

Ruth-- Wait. There's a dance? Do we get together ahead of time to learn it? Because I'm not very good at following along.

Carrie-- Awww! That's the nicest thing ever!

Jessie-- Definitely ALL the way.

Abby-- Aww, thanks! I totally agree.

Laura-- Yes- it doesn't have to be lonely. And not only doesn't it have to be... but we get to be NOT lonely with really awesome people. What more could you ask for?

Jenny-- Hahaha! Tip of the iceberg for me, too. Although even from the tip, it's easy to see how great this community is!

Tara-- Aw! A fellow math and Star Wars lover! Yay! And writers before the Internet-- yes, they probably quit. Or became a little crazy. That's where the crazy holed up writer stereotypes came from. :)

Jeff-- That last line was like a rallying cry! Loved it!

Linda-- Thank you, thank you!

Lan-- Oh, my gosh. SO very well said.

Clarissa-- Hear, hear.

Jenifer-- You're totally right. And yay! I love Karly!