Betty Duffy

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pedge...My Answer to Prayer

I made a flier for a retreat my mom was coordinating, one in which I planned to participate, so I guess I can't lay credit entirely on Mom's shoulders. But I did make the flier at her request,and I labored over it for about 15 minutes and emailed it off to my friend Pedge, for her opinion. And Pedge, being the good and honest friend that she is, said bluntly, "You suck at making fliers."

Well, of course, she was right. The flier had no graphics. It was not balanced. It was basically a word document which I fancied up using bolds and italics and different font sizes. Was I really expecting her to say, "Genius!"? Still, my initial response, was to pull out my defenses.

"Well, I only worked on it for about fifteen minutes." Being able to have this response handy may well have been the primary reason for my procrastination. If I don't try very hard, then the stakes are not as high when I fail. With a flier, well, nothing gained, nothing lost. My creative friend Pedge will doctor it up with the keen eye of a Target ad executive.

But in my writing life, could this be why my creative career has been in a long term state of arrested development? I sprint off a poem, a story, a chapter of a novel that will never have an end. I put it away somewhere and think to myself, "When I die and the literary agents come a'knockin' they are going to cash in on this Emily Dickinson." Then again, if they never come a'knockin' at least I won't be there to see it.

When I was in high school, I had a short term career as a high jumper in track and field. I was tall and lean back then, and without much effort I was the highest jumper in my bo-hunk county...until one day I missed the bar and landed on my back. I had a six inch bruise running perpendicularly across my spine and I never jumped over five feet again (for those who don't know high jump, this is not a very high jump). From then on in competition, I ran up to the bar, and kept running right on through. If you do this three times, you're DQ'd, and sometimes I would just go up to the bar and push it off. Needless to say, coach pulled me from the event. What I'm confessing to here is a long term preference for wimpy behavior. I would rather be a wimp than a loser. And I would rather not try at all, than try something and get hurt.

It's funny that Pedge called my foul on this flier. It's funny because for the past year or so, I have been praying a very particular prayer--that God would help me to be a woman who means business. I want to be one of those women who when she says she's going to do something, she does it, and does it well. "Yes, I'll email you a contact." Boom, it's in the inbox. "Yes I'll bring snacks to the meeting." And I arrive on time with fresh made muffins, rather than the usual flustered late entry, and then the cringing apologetic face..."I forgot the snack. Sorry guys." This sounds like I was praying to become PTO president--which was decidedly not my prayer--though for some reason I have become PTO president this year. Even more of a reason to send my plea up to Heaven. "God, make me a woman who means business!"

So I made the flier on time...but it sucked. This is not the action of a woman who means business. I will do it better next time. I might even redo it this time, so that it looks like an ad for the kind of event that my friend Pedge would like to attend.

(Though, Mom, please do not miss the subliminal message in this: There is a better woman for this flier job, and that woman is Pedge.)


Emily said...

So IS Mom reading this? I dropped a couple of posts in the August entries. So are you giving up your journal to blog? Or just tired of pretending to hide your diary?

Betty Duffy said...

Didn't Oscar Wilde say he took his diary with him everywhere so that he always had something interesting to read? There's no shame in that. I suspect that if your diary were as interesting as mine, you'd want others to read it too, dear Sister.

And Mom has graciously allowed me to have a private place in the public eye. har har. (So where's the public eye? Come on, World!!! READ ME!!)

John said...

Since Emily's broken the family silence here, I feel more free to come out and confess: I read you.

John said...

By the way, where's the religious voice post? Did you get a call from the voice of prudence? Did it sound like Emily?

Emily said...

Oh ho ho, John. But I feel no shame in being the Voice of Prudence, nor in being the Food Police. Family intervention is all about moral growth and accountability. Would you like some advice, too?