If I’ve got one thing going for me in my writing life (or in the rest of my life, really, but the current context is writing), it’s not talent or great ideas or anything like that. It’s the way I react to things going wrong.
I’ve become aware enough of this that I even said it to the boy today. Having gotten some seriously discouraging news, I called him up to be mopey. I do this; I’m not going to pretend that I magically avoid the mopey stage. But when he asked whether I was okay, I said something along the lines of, “oh, I will be, once I get past this stage and move into predatory bird mode.”
My local friends have a tendency to tag people with animal descriptors, sometimes more than one. It’s generally agreed that I’m in the town’s feline populace, but I’ve also got an avian streak. Though I don’t think there’s any consensus on what kind of bird it is, it seems to be something predatory, because every so often I kick over into a mode that can best be described as circling high up in the clouds, marking out my prey, readying myself to drop from the sky like a taloned rock of death. I think the first time I really noticed myself doing it was a few years ago, when I came within spitting distance of selling Doppelganger to an editor, sent her something else next, then found out that she’d left the company for a different one, where I could no longer submit to her. That was massively depressing, and I shuffled around the house feeling more or less like I was never going to sell a novel — for maybe an hour or so. Then I sat down, wrote a synopsis for the novel I’d just finished revising, marshaled my list of editors, redesigned my game plan, and in short, stayed up until two a.m., fueled by adrenaline and raptor-like determination.
That’s what gets me through disappointment. Something gets in my way? Then I’m going to rip its scalp off with my talons, peck its eyes out, and feast on its entrails. Or something along those lines. No time for lazy cat-naps in the sun, at times like these. I’ve got me some prey to stoop on.