“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?
Look, I don’t know what’s hidden within you. I have no way of knowing such a thing. You yourself may barely know, although I suspect you’ve caught glimpses. I don’t know your capacities, your aspirations, your longings, your secret talents. But surely something wonderful is sheltered inside you. I say this with all confidence, because I happen to believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure. I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
So I wrote my little children’s book about the rat that likes to work out. It’s out there in hard cover, in color, with an ISBN and all. Even as I write this, there is a big cut out of this little Jim Rat perched atop my fake fireplace (Yep, I have one and I love its little fake flames). His hands are on his hips while staring me down saying “What now A.M.? I’m here. What now?” (I also think he could be judging me about my cleaning habits but not at the moment.)
A few weeks ago, I was riding the high of reading Jim Rat at a big bookstore. I made the call to order more copies to sell. I had a number in mind– conservative, mild, nothing “crazy”. I’m not a gambler. Not even a slot-machine-at-the-Raceway-kind-of-gambler. However, the eager publishing lady on the other end of the phone had another plan. She gave me a different number – a much higher number. She upped the ante. I could have folded and got up from this publishing card table but then she mentioned, “colored end papers.” I had no idea that those three words, that didn’t have any strong meaning to me prior to this exchange, could make me go all in but there I was throwing more chips at my “dealer.” Colored end papers?! Heck Yeah! So, flash forward, new printings of Jim Rat will have blue colored end papers but only because I upped my conservative number to a very large still-makes-me-nervous-not-to-be-disclosed-number. Any day now, many boxes will be coming to my house, I will have to answer the door and let in the results of my gamble. Boxes and boxes of Jim Rat are coming! I have decided to not let the panic envelop me. Instead, I will fashion tables and chairs from these boxes. Build a fort for my little rat packers and perhaps some big rat packers who like such things. I will sell those books eventually. I will not doubt myself or devote any of my headspace to such doubting voices.
Back in September, I let some of these doubting voices in for a brief visit. I listened to a few people talk about Snap Chat – a platform I admit I know little about. I said that to the people. One of which quickly, without hesitation, told me what great things the other two people in the conversation contribute on Snap Chat – great videos, pics of “hot girlfriends” (This person’s exact words – not mine) and then this person said, “What would Ann Marie contribute? Pictures of workout clothes and cats?” I wanted to punch this person in the face. I still maintain it would have been well deserved and all my time in workout clothes would have helped with the impact. But I didn’t. I couldn’t believe that this is what this person thought of me after several years of knowing me. Forty and unmarried – must have nothing else to contribute. I was upset, grumbled to friends, but ultimately spoke to the person, received an apology and left it behind till now. I include here to say with a capital big bold letter “F the doubters.” Who cares what others think you have to contribute? Do they know the treasure buried inside you? No. More importantly – do you know your own treasure? I don’t have cats like the person so quipped. I have Jim Rat. Borrow my big cut out of little Jim Rat. Put him atop your fake fireplace (I can’t be the only one) and let him work for you. Answer his “What now?” I will make that book gamble work for me. I will live with the boxes for now. Then, I will take a break from the gambling world till the Jim Rat sequel. Till then… What will you do to uncover your buried treasure?