Today is May 1st. Most of you are probably thinking it’s just another day or maybe that since its May, summer is right around the corner. But for those of you, like me, who have a high school senior, you’ll know that the date is much more ominous: it’s the D-Day of all deadlines. It’s College Decision Day.
My daughter, bless her heart, applied to six schools. She was declined once (by her “reach” school so she didn’t really expect to get in). She was accepted at three (one for a full tuition ride, another into the honors program, and the third with a Presidential scholarship). Sounds great, doesn’t it? Not to her. Do you know why? Because for her two top choices, she’s been waitlisted. It doesn’t matter to her that those schools only accept about 10% of their applicants and that being waitlisted is still an honor since so many more were declined. She sees only one thing: failure. Her disappointment is a palpable thing.
If you Google the quotes for the word “disappointment,” you’ll come up with dozens of quotes like “If you fall seven times, get up eight,” and “If you get to the end of your rope, keep hanging on.” In hindsight, that makes a lot of sense. But when you’re standing there in the middle of muck and your backside is smarting from the fall, it’s hard to see the bigger picture. But there is one—promise.
There’s a country song with lyrics something like “If you’re going through hell, just keep going; keep on moving before the devil even knows you’re there.” How right that is! The only failure I can see when facing disappointment is staying still. About five years ago, my then-publisher dropped me like a burning bag of dog poop. Yeah, it hurt that badly. My disappointment was so great that I almost quit writing. The funny thing about it was that I hated writing for that publisher. They gave me tiny print runs, no publicity, and horrid covers. But I still felt like I was going to the prom. My date might be the dorky, pimply boy, but at least I was going! And then suddenly even the dorky, pimply boy didn’t want me. My ego took a blow that was equaled only by the time at the high school dance where the boy of my dreams paid his best friend to dance with me so he wouldn’t have to. (Yeah, that really happened).
Luckily, I’ve got great friends and a supportive husband. They didn’t make me feel like a loser (thankfully, I didn’t have teenagers back then!). They encouraged me to keep writing. So I did, and I wrote The Color of Light. And just when I thought I was at the end of my rope, my agent sold it to my dream publisher, Penguin Publishing. I’ve since gone on to write six more books for them, have won numerous awards and my last book, The Girl on Legare Street, made it to number 31 on the New York Times bestseller list. Not bad for a loser, huh?
The irony is that what I thought at the time was the worst that could happen (being dropped by my publisher) turned out to be the best thing. Helen Keller once wrote, “A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.” Smart lady.
My new book On Folly Beach will be released on May 4th. It’s a book about overcoming hardships, and finding acceptance and love in unexpected places. It’s set in 1942 and 2009 in Folly Beach, South Carolina, and I absolutely love this book. Early bookstore orders and reviews have been strong so I have good expectations that it will be well received by readers. If for some reason it’s not, I’ll be disappointed. But I’d like to think that I’ve learned that disappointment doesn’t mean “the end.” It just means that I need to jump back in the saddle and write the next book.
My husband just left for the airport for a flight to San Francisco on a business trip, leaving me home with our daughter to do the final hash over her college choices. Part of me wishes that I was in Siberia or Mars, but the rest of me is glad I’m here to help show my child that she has marvelous choices in front of her, and that a disappointment could just mean heading down an unexpected path and finding it was where she was meant to be all along.
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us Karen! I know how frustrating the college waiting game can be for these young adults. Although both of my children were fortunate enough to get into the undergraduate colleges of their choice, my son was quite nervous last spring awaiting confirmation of his admission to law school. He did not get admitted to his top choice of law school but I think he is very happy with where he decided to go. All disappointments can be a humbling experience but are sometimes necessary for us to grow intellectually.
Here is a brief summary of On Folly Beach:
Karen White brings her readers back to the Lowcountry--to Folly Beach, South Carolina, and into the lives of two war widows whose lives intersect only by the bookstore they own sixty years apart.
When a box of old books hiding cryptic love notes in the margins is discovered, the lives of the two women collide, spilling secrets of an old love affair and an unsolved disappearance from 1942, and offering a young widow hope for a second chance.
Karen has been gracious enough to offer two of her books to giveaway to my readers! So here is how you can enter to win one for yourself:
To enter this contest you must be at least 18 and live in the U.S. or Canada.
For one entry leave me a comment including your email address below.
For two additional entries, blog about this contest or add the link to your sidebar.
Please include your email so I will have a way to contact you if you win.
You will have until May 26th to enter and I will draw for a winner on May 27th.
Good luck everyone!
This giveaway is closed.