I thought for a very, very long time that I could control when things happened. I understood the concept of causation and simply imagined myself to be the only catalyst needed to start my plans in motion. I didn’t fail because it never crossed my mind as a possibility.
I cruised along under this determined and diligent narcissism until I was about 14 when I entered the Reader’s Digest writing contest. It was a humor contest, asking for amusing stories from reader’s daily lives.
Even at that age, I knew that humor was one of the most challenging endeavors for a writer. But, I was determined and that meant I must succeed. Fortunately, I did have plenty of fodder for the funny piece. I chose to write about a recent baking fiasco, when I attempted to bake “No Fail Fudge.” (I’m sure that you can already foresee the irony of the piece.)
I had the kitchen to myself and I was eager to begin my culinary career. I got the recipe for No Fail Fudge from the back of a fluff jar. Looking back, this should have been the first clue that I was not on the path to sweet success. Fluff is certainly not the foremost ingredient of sublime pastries.
The real problems began when I tried to substitute ingredients. The recipe called for evaporated milk. I had never even heard of evaporated milk. Using the power of deduction I figured that the liquid has been evaporated out of the milk making it pretty much the same thing as powered milk.
It is not at all the same thing. A truth which I came to realize minutes later when faced with a burnt pan, a kitchen full of smoke and a full blown failure.
Sadly, not only my fudge was a failure but also my attempt in narrating it humorously. I was hit with my first rejection letter.
Since then I have written several more dismal pieces of writing. My frustration came in the fact that the harder I tried to make something good and worthwhile the worse it turned out.
Success does not submit to our time table.
I often wonder when I will believe that I am a writer? Perhaps when I surrender my futile attempts to bridle success. Perhaps when I stop trying so hard and start enjoying the journey.