Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for November 26th, 2013

Hanging on to a Dream

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Folks, this last several weeks has been incredibly difficult.  The difficulties haven’t been anything new — my health has not been the world’s best all year long, though I continue to fight for better health as best I can — but sometimes, life can be frustrating.

To put it mildly.

When your body doesn’t work right, when you’ve been ill for five weeks straight with no end in sight, when many of the people who’ve mattered the most are already on the Other Side doing whatever it is people who’ve outlived their mortal bodies do, it can be hard to get up in the morning.

What gets me up and moving?  Some days, I’m not sure, other than an unshakeable belief that I must keep trying.

I look at it this way.  I have talent for more than one thing — actually, like many human beings, I have talents for several things, but the major things I’m good at are music, writing and editing — and I want to keep using my talents.  Further, I want to develop them all I possibly can, and keep going as long as I can.

None of these things are earth shattering revelations, of course.  If you’ve read even one of my blogs (at least, any of the personal updates, or when I’ve talked writing, publishing, editing, or most especially about my wonderful late husband, Michael), you almost certainly already know this.

But I say all this because it’s rare that I see something on television that actually gives me hope.  Most of the TV programs I watch lately are downbeat (yes, even including Once Upon a Time, which has been focusing lately on rescuing Henry, who seems to be related to every other character through blood, marriage or adoption), and while the acting on some of these shows is phenomenal (James Spader has to be the frontrunner for an Emmy based off his work on The Blacklist, and Toni Collette would be my frontrunner for an Emmy for her work on Hostages), they are not exactly life-affirming in the traditional sense.

So it’s surprising when, while watching one of my favorite TV shows, Dancing with the Stars — something I’ve blogged about before, but not terribly often — I actually see something that is life-affirming.  More to the point, something that’s actually inspirational.

And the person who’s actually inspired me enough to write this blog is none other than former “wild child” turned respectable husband and father Jack Osbourne.  Osbourne’s dancing on DWTS has been very good to excellent all season long, but continuing to do his best despite his struggles with Multiple Sclerosis (by his own admission on DWTS last week, Osbourne had a nasty MS flare-up) and persevering to get to the finals is what got me to write this blog.

Of course, Osbourne is not the type of guy who thinks of himself as an inspiration.  He seems to be the sort of guy who gets up every day, goes to work (right now, that’s DWTS), puts in all the hours he needs to be good, then puts in the extra hours to be great, and then goes home to his wife and child without any undue fuss.

I think that’s why I like him, or at any rate, have liked what I’ve seen of him.  (Granted, I really enjoyed his sister Kelly, too, when she was on DWTS several seasons ago.)  I can relate to his work ethic and his refusal to give in to his illness, even though I can’t relate to his famous family, all the paparazzi he’s undoubtedly dealt with in his life, reality TV show fame, or anything of that nature whatsoever.

Still.  There’s something in what Jack Osbourne is doing with his pro partner Cheryl Burke that’s truly worth watching.  Jack’s become a very strong dancer, which came as a surprise to him and his partner, and because he’s fighting a long-term illness along with learning a new skill that’s way out of his comfort zone, he’s actually kind of endearing to watch.

In many ways, watching reality TV can be cathartic, especially if you see aspects of someone’s best self playing out on TV.  It can also be uncomfortable, as even the most admirable person doing the most admirable things can do and say things we, ourselves, would not say or do — but then again, if we were meant to be alone in our skulls, unable to learn anything new from observation or life experiences, what would be the point of living?

Anyway, we all have our own journey to make in this life.  Some of my journey hasn’t at all been what I’ve expected.  I lost my husband way too early, and every day, it’s a struggle to keep going — I’m not going to lie.

But on the other hand, because I keep going, keep fighting, keep writing as best I can, keep editing, keep playing my music whenever my health allows — well, folks, that’s a victory.

I take my victories where I see ’em, and I’ve had a few this year despite the illnesses and the arthritis and the carpal tunnel syndrome and all the other crapola I deal with on a daily basis.  I sold two stories (granted, still can’t talk much about the second sale, but just as soon as I’m cleared, I will).  The first half of my novel, ELFY, will appear during 2014 through Twilight Times Books — if all goes well, it’ll finally be out in April — which will complete a nearly eleven year odyssey (yes, ELFY has been in existence, more or less in its current form, since the end of 2003).  And it will vindicate my husband’s belief in me, which is no bad thing . . . though my husband would tell me, if he could, that I vindicated his belief in me long ago just by being myself.

I’ve hung on to my dream, and I’m still hanging on.  I think my dream of being a highly competent writer, editor and musician is achievable, and I continue to work at it in some way, shape or form every day.  And the reason I’ve hung on to my dream is because I believe in the power of persistence — and I believe in taking victories where I find them.

So let this all be a lesson to you, folks — keep hanging on to your dreams, whatever they are.  And do take your victories, whatever they are, however they manifest, as you find them.

If so, you’ve already won — whether you know it or not.