Friday, May 13, 2011

Taking chances

Last month, fellow author and blogger Julia blogged about an exhibit she saw of Dale Chihuly glass. She was particularly struck by the artist's trust in his audience: There are no walls or barriers protecting these fragile pieces from the public. If something were to happen, irreplaceable art would be destroyed, but apparently he views that as an acceptable cost. His goal is to allow the public to truly interact with his work.

From trust, it's only one small step to taking chances. I believe I'm pretty transparent in my work. I think and talk as Darcy when I'm writing, so there's little room for me to be vulnerable myself. But taking chances... seizing opportunities that I'm given... I could do better there.

In the Jane Austen's House Museum, there is a pianoforte that guests are welcome to play. I looked at it longingly several times, but my keyboard skills are similar to Elizabeth's: I would not play at all amiss, if I practiced more. There were other people in the museum, strangers. Could I play in front of them, expose my lack of skill to their critical ears?

In the end, I shied away. I felt a mild pang of regret when I left the house without touching the instrument, but it wasn't until I read Julia's post that I realized I'd let an opportunity slip through my fingers. Who cares how well I play? I could have played the pianoforte at the Jane Austen's House Museum!! Why didn't I?

This is my year of taking chances. Self-publishing is a huge step into the unknown. Will people like my book? I don't know. All I can do is write (and edit, and rewrite) the best book possible and then put it out there. I know if I don't, I'll regret it--just like I regret not playing the pianoforte.