http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKV5KsoDUQg So today, I am starting with a youtube video that you should listen to. (There is no video footage, just sound). If you are not from the northeast, you are probably going to wonder what the heck you are listening to. The noise on this video is made by baby frogs - commonly called peepers around these parts. And they are the first signs of spring we residents outside of Boston get (mainly because there is still snow on our lawns).
I love this sound! For me, it means spring is on its way and summer is not too far behind - days of reading, drinking iced tea and lemonade (one of my favorite drinks), jumping into an ice cold pool and throwing open my windows once more.
But as I was sitting outside in my hot tub last night and listening to these little guys singing their hearts out, I thought about how I had spent my day - at the State House - seeing the students who had won the MSLA bookmark contests, receive their awards. And I realized that in some ways, all new, young writers and illustrators are peepers. Like these little guys,
(seen here), you are all trying to have your voices heard, to be recognized for your talents.
So what lesson can these peppers give you?
The interesting thing is that while these peppers sing like this at night, they go still during the day. But if you listen very closely during the quiet of the afternoon, you will hear one or two who are still singing.
It's easy when the sun rises over the hilltop, exposing you to the dangers of the world, to go quiet. But the little peppers who keep on singing their song are just not able to do that. In spite of the fact that predators may take more notice of them, that they are putting themselves out there, they keep singing.
So, too, must you as young artists and writers keep persisting. It's easy when your day is over or summer is upon you, to put down the pen or brush. But it is the writer and the artist who is not swept up with the crowds, who keeps on working, who prevails. Sure, like the little peppers, you are exposing yourself to the dreaded letters of rejection. And yet, like those baby frogs, the only way to stand out from the rest is to be the one willing to risk it all. So go on! Send your work out! Risk the rejection letter! And if you do receive the dreaded declination, try again and again and again!
Like those persistent little peppers, let your song fly out into the world. Do it enough times and there will be someone out there somewhere who will pause in the sunshine of a lovely afternoon and think to themselves, "What an amazingly beautiful song"!