Rewrite the Book (Even When Life’s Fires Burn Down the Story)

Published on August 2, 2013 by
Quick Tulip Watercolor

Quick Tulip Watercolor

I started this work ready for anything. I was excited for the launch of the summer e-course. A book was almost complete.
The positive energy and excitement had been deflated by Tuesday.

Somewhere between the computer crashing, remembering my Carbonite subscription had expired and some other unexpected news it seemed like life was blowing everywhere in the wind.

Not a great feeling.

I was stunned on Tuesday night, staring at a blank computer and realizing most of my work of 2013 had been deleted.

Today I was ready for a good cry although I never had time for it as I got ready for the day job, searched through boxes for my Word and Nuance reboot software and tried to reschedule the week.

In between digging through winter clothes (where the Nuance software was hiding) and a box of cd's (hooray, the word processing software!) something funny happened.

I remembered a story I read quite a few years ago.

I'm not sure if John C. Maxwell or Andy Andrews tells the story so I'm not sure to whom to give credit to. Anyways, here it is. Just in case your week has been a bit off, overwhelming or frustrating.

During the time of the Great Depression a man had an idea for a book that would encourage people in the middle of the country's huge problems. He himself was unable to find work but he didn't allow the circumstances to sway his personal conviction that times would get better.

For whatever reason, even though most people had given up on life and even hoping for better times, he believed- almost obnoxiously- people shouldn't give up but continue to work towards a better future.

As he had time to think, the idea of writing a book grew in him. He was so excited about the idea, he went to the room he rented at the boarding house, dusted off the typewriter and began to write.

He didn't stop writing. Not for 5 months. Everyone thought he was a little nuts but no amount of teasing could dissuade him from his course.
Day after day he wrote. He got tired but he persisted and about three months and many hours later, it was done.

All of the work of the past 150 days had completely wore him out. The man was so relieved and happy to complete the work that was inside of him. Deciding he needed to celebrate he walked down the street to the local diner, ordered his favorite dinner and enjoyed the evening with the local folks in town.

While our friend celebrated, something was amiss at the place where he rented a room. A still-lit cigarette was tossed. The user didn't realize it was still lit and continued up the stairs. Soon the whole house was up in flames.

Our friend came back to the street where the boarding house used to stand. Only some of the supporting beams were left. His shoulders slumped a bit as reality hit. He looked down to the ground and shuffled the toe of his shoe in the dirt. He looked at the ground then looked up at the night stars, over and over again.

The landlady got a little nervous and whispered to a neighbor, "shoot, I hope he's gonna be o.k. now that his dream is burnt up."
Quietly, the man turned back to the road and walked to down. He went to the general store, bought a typewriter with the last bits of change in his pocket and rewrote the book.

It took him 3 months this time.

True story.

I wish I could tell you the name of the book because it did end up to become an influential book in the Depression Era. It helped encourage many people to find a reason to look to the future and not get bogged down by their current circumstances.

But maybe that's not the point I need to remember tonight.

It can seem so easy to let go and give up when the last straw breaks.

And I could just be writing for myself but I think someone else out there needs to hear this story too.

When the computer crashes....
When the betrayal happens....
When the bills keep coming....
When the car crashes down......
When life feels very alone....

When there are a million and one reasons to give up and settle for regular living and not pursue creativity and the meaningful work tugging on our hearts, that, my friend, is the time to not give up.

When your best work is deleted, scorned, lost or rejected it is NOT the time to throw in the towel.

Go out, buy that typewriter and rewrite the story.

If it's in your heart once, it still there. Count on it.


p.s.  Most of my work is probably fine as a renewed backup plan with Carbonite will bring back most of my work.  Life lesson:  Always keep a back up!

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