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Working on The Dream

By April 18, 2018WNIJ

I am my younger self’s worst nightmare. I am proof that not all dreams come true — even dreams you want so badly you can taste them.

I am proof that maybe they shouldn’t come true — like that boy you wanted to marry so badly, but then you both grew up and you shudder at the thought of spending your life with him.

Years ago, I was driven to be a successful writer. I hoped my novel would go to auction, that my hard work, my very self, would be vindicated by a six-figure offer. Maybe then I’d be worth something.

My break came. Eight literary agents and four New York publishers asked to see my novel. Their rejections read similarly: “You need to draw your characters more vividly and put emotion on the page.”

These rejections were a mercy, because publishing would not save my soul or ease my sadness. I worked with an editor, rewriting the book. I worked out my craft, some painful memories, and dumped into a steady peace. Writing helped me find a work that allowed me to help young people.

I self-published my novel and sold five hundred copies. My email list is under 200, when successful authors boast thousands. But I still show up at the page, post things on my blog because it’s rewarding to be read — even if my audience is small.

I’m Katie Andraski, and that’s my perspective. What about you? Have you had dreams that didn’t come true? What were they? Or did a dream come true that wasn’t such a good thing?

If you’d like to hear me read this aloud, click here.

This was originally aired on Northern Public Radio.

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  • Max Frazier says:

    What a perfect beginning: “I am my younger self’s worst nightmare.”!!

    • katiewilda says:

      Thanks so much. I wrestled with this one for awhile. It wouldn’t come right and then it did…

  • Robin says:

    My dream that didn’t come true was to be a competitive dressage rider. I’ m a good enough rider to be successful at the lower levels and I generally do well when I go to a show, but I don’t seem to have the temperament for it. Showing is not the fun for me that I think it should be so for now I’ve stopped.

    • katiewilda says:

      I hear you on the temperament for showing. What appeals to me is having a goal to work toward, but I’m not sure how my horses would react at the actual show and I have a forgetful mind…It’s also so expensive. I don’t want to invest in boots for one thing. If it’s not fun, why do it, so you’re wise to back away. Working Equitation is an interesting sport because there are things to train your horse for like a trail class, but there is also dressage. It’s just getting started here in the US…The people seem to be pretty nice who are involved.

  • elaine says:

    I dreamed of being a Mom. Then I wasn’t able to have children. My mother had taken a drug in 1955 to prevent miscarriage. Later, they found that caused infertility in the men and women as adults. I enjoy reading your stories regardless if you sell thousands or hundreds of books. I read your book also and enjoyed that too

    • katiewilda says:

      I’m so sorry that being a Mom didn’t work out for you. Even as a person who didn’t particularly want children, as a 60 year old I understand a little of the grief of that not working out. Thank you so much for enjoying my stories and for reading my book. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. It is very rewarding to be read.

  • I am remembering a Twilight Zone episode I saw in the 1960s as a teenager. It was a scene where an older woman met her younger self. It was the first time I think that I understood I would be older someday. 50 years later I’m trying to cultivate a better mood in spite of a “provisional existence of unknown limit” (Viktor Frankl quote). What life has revealed to me, past and present, lately I’ve been trying to take a “so be it” attitude.

    • katiewilda says:

      I hear you on the “so be it” attitude. That seems like a wise way to look at it. When I was young I never thought I’d live this long, because of the nuclear arms race, and various other end of the world scenarios so prevalent in the 60’s and 70’s. Those years were so tumultuous, I wondered if the country would survive. But we did and interesting, unpredictable events unfolded both in the culture and in my life. I’m glad for the way life has turned out, even the hard stuff. Yes, so be it.

  • Regina T. Stamps says:

    I like the beginning too! So true!

    • katiewilda says:

      That’s for sure…Somehow though our lives turn out better than our dreams in their ordinariness…

  • Mark says:

    I dreamed of ruling the world . . . and God in His mercy kept THAT from happening!