In anyone's life there are always those people who have nothing nice to say. These are the people who offer, not constructive criticism, but destructive criticism, the kind that can leave even the toughest person searching the freezer for a pint of ice cream, a bottle of wine, or in some cases, both. These are the nay sayers and dream crushers and while they are in everyone's life at some point it, they seem to be even more prevalent for writers, artists, and anyone who is willing to offer their work, their soul, for others to digust, and sometimes devour. These people, these destructive, negative people, surprisingly, have an up side to them. Their presence, in all actuality can be quite a blessing but I'll ge to that in a moment.
My first, and favorite horse, was Darren (yes, I named the character in my children's books after him). He was an incredible little horse of indeterminate breeding. He was, in fact, barely a horse, standing 15 hands, almost. He had an amazing face, a compact, powerful body, and a heart of gold. He tended to be a bit on the round side, even when in heavy work, and was as crafty as the day was long. All this being said most of my trainers, at least the ones I had once I started into serious competition, didn't like him. They wanted me to have a fancy horse of impeccable breeding and while continuing to work with us, also continually told my parents and myself that Darren lacked the qualities to be a champion, that he and I would never succeed and that another horse was needed as soon as could be arranged if I was to move forward with my equestrian dreams. I was heartbroken at first. I loved Darren more than life itself and while I knew he would probably not be an Olympic mount, I also knew (and believed with all my heart) that he was a champion. As I mentioned, he had tremendous heart, he could jump fences that stood over his head, he could do upper level dressage moves, and out run horses with strides twice the length of his. He never gave up. At the time of his retirement, even though I was still young, we had been moved up to adult divisions(after winning too much in children's divisions), he was Virginia high score dressage champion, with a score that still stands twenty years later, and he had won several eventing champions in Maryland and Virginia as well. In short, he had never given up, and we had never given up on him, despite all those people that had tried to crush him and my dreams. We kept believing. True we didn't go to the Olympics, but we more than fulfilled the dreams I had and I have to admit there is tremendous satisfaction in beating someone on a fancy horse who told me my little mutt horse was nothing, even though of course you should always strive to accomplish goals for your own satisfaction first.
Writing is sometimes similar for me. There are many people who completely dismiss the idea. They tell me to stop wasting my time, write something different, they berate, discourage and often make fun of me. It's these moments I think about Darren and I tune them out. Because I believe that if you really believe, and you work at it, and nuture it, your dreams, your passions, they do come to realization. I may never be J.K. Rowling, Stephen Kind, or F. Scott Fitzgerald, but I am a writer, and I hope to get better at writing constantly, my style evolving with sentence I write. I hope someday my dreams of making a living as a writer come true, in the mean time, I have no intention of letting the nay sayers and dream crushers crush this dream no matter how hard I try. In fact, I intend to use their negativity in the most positive way possible-for motivation-to keep writing, keep striving, keep chasing my dreams.