"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings but a cat does not." -Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What Fluffy Little Kittens Taught Me About Rejection

A new year has begun.  Twelve whole months of promise and hope just as if each one were a clean, crisp white page waiting to be filled with words that create a colorful new world!  
With hope there comes opportunity, and with opportunity, there comes the possibility of the one dreaded word in all writer’s vocabulary, rejection; the dismissing or refusing of a proposal or idea.  
As writer’s, we’ve all experienced the emotional elements associated with having our ideas and words dismissed or refused.  Although it’s been several years since my first rejection I can still remember as if it were yesterday when my heart and soul felt as though they had been gouged out with a frozen grapefruit spoon.  Was I hurt?  Yes.  Did I die?  No.  Did I give up writing?  Absolutely not, and neither should you!  That is why I want to share with you what fluffy little kittens have taught me about rejection.
Right about now you may be asking, “What does fluffy little kittens have to do with rejection?
Let’s explore:
Often times, you come across an article in a health magazine or listen to an expert being interviewed on t.v. about the importance of balance between work and play.  Some people refer to something outside of work as a hobby, I prefer to refer to it as a passion.  It doesn’t really matter which definition you choose, except for when you’re sitting across from your accountant, but what is important is that you have one.
If you’ve been writing for a while then you most likely know it can become very easy for a writer to isolate themselves inside the make believe worlds they create, particularly when writing is a passion, and sometimes forget about the little things in life that are important.  That is why having a passion outside your writing that you can get away to is very important for maintaining a healthy perspective.

Whether it be about writing or an outside cause, most writers I know are very passionate people and a lot of times it’s their outside passion that is the driving force behind what they write.  If you haven’t already discovered a passion outside your writing, dig deep down inside and remember why you became a writer in the first place.  You may find its been lying there dormant waiting for you to rediscover it.  
For the past twenty years a personal passion of mine has been rescuing and saving abandoned animals and in many cases reuniting lost ones to their beloved homes for a happy ending.  
In total, there have been 32 cats, kittens, dogs and puppies I have helped along in their journey through life.  Why?  The answer to that question is even a mystery to me.  The only thing I can equate it to is the same passion I have about writing.  It’s just something I have to do.  Some may describe it as a calling in life, just as certain people have a calling for missions work, teaching or serving.  How about you, what special passion do you have in life outside writing?
Perhaps this may explain why I never go seeking animals to rescue, they simply show up at my doorstep.  I often wonder if somewhere out there in the lonely world of lost and abandoned animals there is a make shift latrine with words scratched into a tree stump, “For a good home follow your nose to...”
My most recent rescue, and biggest one to date,  happened two days prior to this past Thanksgiving.  A mother kitty and seven adorable fluffy kittens showed up with nowhere to go.  Since I was the one in the family entertaining this year and had only two days left to prepare I had two options; (a) call the local county and have them pick them up and forget about it all or (b) drop everything and set up a makeshift shelter in my garage and still have two days left to prepare for Thanksgiving.  
One decision would have resulted in lack of sleep due to a heavy conscious on the heart and the other decision would have resulted in lack of sleep, putting writing on hold, using money saved for Christmas and a heavy burden on the heart if I couldn’t find them all homes and had to call the county anyway.
Which did I choose? I chose the one that had promise and hope.  The one which its future had not yet been written and then I chose my words carefully as I filled in the clean, crisp white pages and created a new colorful world for fluffy little kittens who only knew rejection, but always had faith in their eyes.  
Each and every morning I would rise early to tend to my own that I have rescued through the years and then would set out on my new daily ritual of carefully transferring  the kittens (with a hug or two) to a clean cage to eat while I cleaned and washed their carriers so I could start over again the next day.  Every hour on the hour I would tend to them again due to the small confined spaces they were in.  They never seemed to mind, they only seemed to care someone took the time. 
Then each and every day I would put calls out to every rescue organization in the area, but none could help, or were willing.  With time running out (I had a deadline for I was going away for Christmas) I placed an ad on an online source and since being a writer I decided why not create one that would touch the heart.  
The responses were overwhelming!  My email became full over night.  Now having rescued through the years, I knew enough not to just randomly pass out kittens.  I contacted and interviewed each person wanting to adopt and after two weeks of visiting and meeting the perspective new families, each and every fluffy little kitten, including Mom, had a new loving forever home!  And, for all my animal loving followers, be assured they were delivered spayed or neutered and properly vaccinated.
What did fluffy little kittens teach me about rejection?  That sometimes the easy road out is the hard way out.  That if you want to persevere and overcome you must take the road that has yet to be traveled, the one that is wide open with promise and hope, waiting to be filled with words that create a colorful world.  For behind every slammed door, there is one that’s heart is always open willing to believe.    
Maybe after all there isn’t  a make shift latrine with words scratched into a tree stump leading lost and abandoned animals to my doorstep.  Maybe they too have learned to choose the hard road out and travel the one filled with promise and hope.  
Happy New Year and may this be the year that you never give up.
Until next time,   

Keep on thriving, keep on striving and keep on writing!
T.K. Millin
The Unknown Author