Have More Than One Iron in the Fire

I came across the following from a blog post by a literary agent. Among other things, she said:

I will tell you right now, if you don’t learn to move on, to write the next book and query the next book and write and query the next book after that you will never be published.

No agent and no publisher wants an author for only one book, and if you spend years reworking and re-pitching that same book you’re not making yourself a very marketable or publishable author.

Even though I groaned when I read this last part (after all, it’s hard work to write just one book), it does make sense. People in general are accustomed to perceiving their goals in a “gonna fly now-Rocky” context of the one prize fight, the one hit song, or the one blockbuster novel that will propel them to the top of their field. Very few people contemplate the sustained effort it takes to create a body of work.

So, what does this mean to me? It means that after I finish the first draft of my novel, I’ll set it aside for a while and write some short stories that I can enter into writing competitions. And then I’ll start my second novel after I finish revising the first one. Onward and forward.

In most contexts, it’s not good to depend on one thing. This has been noted throughout the ages. As Baltasar Gracian said in his 1637 book, The Art of Worldly Wisdom:

Double Your Resources. You thereby double your life. One must not depend on one thing or trust to only one resource, however preeminent. Everything should be kept double, especially the causes of success, of favor, or of esteem. . . Thus as nature gives us in duplicate the most important of our limbs and those most exposed to risk, so art should deal with the qualities on which we depend for success.

The Art of Worldly Wisdom, pg. 54.

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18 Responses to “Have More Than One Iron in the Fire”

  1. SouthlandDiva says:

    Khadija,

    I completely agree! If you are a writer, don’t just work on the Great American Novel, pursue different publishing options like Silhouette or Harlequin, or online publications. Absolutely get your short story skills down and submit to online and hardcopy publications. Yes, your work will get rejected. Don’t take it personally. Move. On. Oh and don’t forget, movies, theatrical and television scripts are another avenue.

    Peace

  2. SouthlandDiva,

    I’m still groaning when I think about all of that sustained effort. Putting together the book of blog essays was fairly easy because I had been writing the essays one at a time over a year or so. I’m finding that my current projects are HARD and require a different type of mental concentration and stamina. {sigh}

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  3. Karen R says:

    Hi,

    I really appreciate what you are doing. I like the entrepreneurial spirit of this post and I especially like the comment …”In most contexts, it’s not good to depend on one thing.” That is so true!!!

    It is important for BW to set goals, explore the avenues where we can use our talents and skills and work to accomplish our goals so that we are in control of our destinies. The economic impact of us (BW) doing this is HUGE!!!

  4. Karen R.,

    Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it.

    I won’t directly talk about it much at this site, but the VERY bad things that I warned about at the previous blog still appear to be coming our way. Things like peak oil—which an Obama Administration energy official semi-admitted while using double-talk and another term instead of “peak oil” during an interview with the French media in Le Monde. http://tinyurl.com/ybyvcal

    [Peak oil is most likely the underlying reason why Obama recently approved the US offshore drilling. Most AAs have never heard of peak oil, and we’re certainly not talking about it. Almost none of us are doing what we can to prepare for it.]

    Things like the mass die-offs of the bees over the past few years (which has potentially catastrophic implications for the human food supply—so many foods in the human food chain depend on the bees doing their work).

    Things like the ongoing global economic crisis.

    Even though I generally no longer directly point this out during the posts, ALL of things that I talk about over here, including:

    1-the skills that create emotional resilience;

    2-developing multiple income streams;

    3-the skills and self-presentation needed to find a QUALITY man to protect and provide for oneself and one’s children; and even

    4-the practical usefulness of the entertainment, stress-reduction, and social cohesion applications of developing storytelling skills

    have direct survival applications for AA women and their children; and can be make-or-break issues.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  5. Rhonda says:

    Thanks for mentioning the issues of peak oil, the danger to our food supply, and the growing economic global crisis. I am glad to know that — although, you won’t be writing posts about such political, economic, sustainability issues — as this blog’s author/owner, you are cognizant of them.

    Most AAs have never heard of peak oil, and we’re certainly not talking about it. Almost none of us are doing what we can to prepare for it.

    We black Americans have only recently placed our foot on the road of The American Dream (rather late in the game), only to find out that it has been, at best, an illusion, and now, with the economic downturn, a fading dream.

    Up until the beginning of WW2, for most Americans, this nation was a second-world country. It was because of the destruction, then the needing to rebuild after WW2, of Europe and Japan that the “tide lifted all boats”, thereby moving a significant number of the American population — mostly white men, along with their wives and children — into the middle- to upper middle-class. Now this 60 years smoothly sailing ride is ending, and most Americans choose to remain asleep during the storm. Ironically, it is those white men who are in the deepest denial and are having the hardest time adjusting to the ugliness of this New World Order, as they come to realize that their whiteness and maleness offer them less and less protection (witness the Tea Partiers) against corporate capitalism’s ravages.

    Many of Americans do not think about Peak Oil (in a nutshell: when once one unit of oil gave 100 units; now one unit gives you 50 or less, and the stuff you get now is not the light, sweet, don’t have to dig too deep to get…the U.S. reached Peak Oil sometime in the 1970s) because to do so would mean facing the reality that we cannot keep going “forward” (the earth just won’t allow it; the American lifestyle is, in the long-run, unsustainable) the way we have been taught to expect with our very bad and killing habits [of over-consumption of the planet’s finite resources, mindless breeding, destruction of the earth, never-ending warfare, etc.].

    Also, this economic downturn is not temporary. The commercial real estate market hasn’t even had its glorious moment in the sun, as it was/is for the sub-prime housing market, yet. There are no jobs being created to replace all the ones that have been, are being, lost. We are in the midst of a collapse, and it is unlikely that there will be a “turn-around” to the way things used to be.

    I think Obama has been, is, bad news for blacks in the U.S. Too many of us supported him based solely upon the race (black) of his immigrant Kenyan father, which gave him his brown skin color, thereby making him, because of this country’s one drop rule for blackness, one of us. (For me, “blackness” is not just one’s skin color, but one’s culture.) Not that blacks are monolithic insofar as our politics is concerned, but our history in this country, as those people who are the descendents of those brought here to be slaves, and our endurance of those many centuries of slavery and nearly a century of Jim Crow/segregation and second-class citizen status, has given us an historically unique ability to know the truth, to see past the crammed down our throats myth, about America. With Obama, we have been so glad to have someone who looks like us be president, that we are now intentionally blind to the truth: Obama is just the brown-skinned newest manager of empire, and like the Romans and the Incas and the British before us, all empires fall, and Obama has taken the helm at the time for this empire’s fall. This is not a good time to not see, to be willingly blind, especially as black people, who are first on the list to be devastated when there are no more good times in America.

  6. Rhonda,

    You’re welcome; and thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it.

    You said, “Also, this economic downturn is not temporary. . . There are no jobs being created to replace all the ones that have been, are being, lost. We are in the midst of a collapse, and it is unlikely that there will be a “turn-around” to the way things used to be.”

    I agree. The party is over and things are NOT going back to the carefree indulgence of before. The “mainstream” media will lie about this, and they will never say the word “Depression,” but that process has already begun.

    [Incidentally, the US media whitewashing of the depths of the economic crisis reminds me of how the “mainstream” US media lied and refused to acknowledge the sectarian civil war between Sunnis and Shia in Iraq. And instead, kept dishonestly describing events there as “being on the verge of civil war.” This was while each sect was being run out of mixed Sunni/Shia areas by sectarian death squads. From what I’ve read, Baghdad is now a Shia city because of the sectarian “cleansing.” Iraqi Christians have also been chased out of Iraq by sectarian death squads (by both Shia Muslim and Sunni Muslim death squads). But one would never know any of this from listening to or reading the mainstream US media.]

    For those who are interested in a rough sneak preview of how collapse plays out, they should look at some of Dmitry Orlov’s essays about how collapse went down in the former USSR. And how the USSR was better situated to survive collapse. http://tinyurl.com/y6cbkzj

    You said, “I think Obama has been, is, bad news for blacks in the U.S. Too many of us supported him based solely upon the race (black) of his immigrant Kenyan father, which gave him his brown skin color, thereby making him, because of this country’s one drop rule for blackness, one of us. (For me, “blackness” is not just one’s skin color, but one’s culture.)”

    I agree that Pres. Obama has been, is, and will continue to be bad news for AAs. He’s essentially a Trojan horse.

    You said, “Not that blacks are monolithic insofar as our politics is concerned, but our history in this country, as those people who are the descendents of those brought here to be slaves, and our endurance of those many centuries of slavery and nearly a century of Jim Crow/segregation and second-class citizen status, has given us an historically unique ability to know the truth, to see past the crammed down our throats myth, about America. With Obama, we have been so glad to have someone who looks like us be president, that we are now intentionally blind to the truth…”

    I agree. AAs only condemn evil policies when they are enacted by White politicians. When evil policies are cloaked in blackface and promoted by prominent Black-skinned individuals like Colin Powell, Condi Rice, AND Pres. Obama, then most of us will support it. We only disliked the US wars of empire in Iraq and other places when they were conducted by the White George Bush.

    All of this shows just how hypocritical and politically unprincipled the AA collective is. The same could be said for the fake individuals that pass as the political “left” in this country. Suddenly, many of the policies that they screamed about when conducted by Bush are okay . . . or at least not worth speaking out about. http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2010/03/21/springtime-for-obama/

    You said, “This is not a good time to not see, to be willingly blind, especially as black people, who are first on the list to be devastated when there are no more good times in America.”

    Exactly. There are going to be a LOT of AA casualties. I’m continually amazed by our collective penchant for denial, magical thinking, and rhyming slogans. As you’ve noted, AAs are the people who can least afford any of this deliberate blindness.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  7. Karen says:

    “(the earth just won’t allow it; the American lifestyle is, in the long-run, unsustainable)” – That is the bottom line.

    If my figures are correct, the U.S. is 5% of the world’s population but “consumes” 30% of its resources. IT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE.

    The “Wake up call” has arrived.

    We are in a Depression. The smart and wise will adjust and thrive under the new conditions of non-consumer based economy. The unprepared will eventually wither and die BUT how this all will play out remains to be seen.

    It will either be
    a) a gradual decline (highly unlikely)
    b) civil unrest (with the U.S. breaking up into City-State factions – not too far from the realms of possibilty)
    c) complete anarchy. (hopefully to be avoided)

    The timeline and how serious remains to be seen.

    The time is now to prepare. As Khadija has said in the past there are always opportunities. These are the best of times, the worst of times depending on your level of preparedness.

  8. lunanoire says:

    I wonder about the eventual decline’s timeline regarding children. Children are nature’s social security, so what will the childles aged do when long-term care insurance has no meaning? The focus is on forming small sustainable communities, correct? If rapid decline is likely to occur within the next 20 years, wouldn’t childrearing be a bigger challenge than it is today?

  9. Lunanoire,

    You said, “Children are nature’s social security . . .”

    This assumption only applies when people are living/acting and raising children within NORMAL human family arrangements. Are the bulk of AAs who have children living/operating within normal human family arrangements? Or are the masses of AAs living FAR OUTSIDE most human norms?

    Did Betty Shabazz’ adult children function as social security for her?

    Did Juanita Goggins’ middle-aged, adult son function as social security for her?

    See: “Juanita Goggins Dead: Once-Revered South Carolina Lawmaker Freezes To Death Alone”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/11/juanita-goggins-dead-once_n_495498.html

    Do the masses of adult AAs function as “social security” for our elderly parents and other relatives? Or is this a burden/responsibility that is only (intermittently and at great personal cost) shouldered by the AA women who work for a living?

    And the typical AA pattern is that it’s usually only ONE responsible, overburdened BF sibling out of a group of siblings that takes on this burden/responsibility of looking out for elderly parents. That is, on those occassions when any of the children are looking out for their parents.

    This also plays into my earlier questions about our mass lack of family structure. I know that if my father had been an uninvolved sperm donor, then I would NOT lift a finger to look out for him in his elder years. What goes around, comes around.

    AAs can’t realistically expect to reap the benefits of an intact family structure (such as children functioning as a form of social security) when they never bothered to have intact families in the first place!

    I won’t even get into the question of how the bulk of AA women are raising their children to be irresponsible, weak-minded, self-absorbed, and spoiled. These type of people that most AA women are raising are NOT particularly caring or likely to inconvenience themselves for anybody else. Including their mothers. We see examples of this all around us everyday.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  10. lunanoire says:

    Ok, I understand what you’re saying. My earlier statement relies on assumptions that are often not the case among AA.

    The meat of my question relates to the following:
    What is the post-apocalyptic response to child care and elder care? I do not have kids, and peak oil, etc. has me on the fence b/c having kids in a time of rapid decline is a bad idea. However, if a parent does a decent job of childrearing and is lucky, then nature and nurture will combine to provide offspring who can provide for their parents in their old age. Will people have sufficient resources in the new age to feed their kids? Do they have enough land to grow more crops or skills of value that can be traded in order to obtain necessities?

    On an related note, my still-working-on-his-AA degree when people his age could theoretically be graduating from grad school or law school is finally moving out of our parents’ home! Why? Because our grandmother needs help and he doesn’t want to live with the inconvenience when she moves in with them in a couple of months.

  11. Nathifa says:

    Hi Khadiji. You stated,”I agree. AAs only condemn evil policies when they are enacted by White politicians. When evil policies are cloaked in blackface and promoted by prominent Black-skinned individuals like Colin Powell, Condi Rice, AND Pres. Obama, then most of us will support it. We only disliked the US wars of empire in Iraq and other places when they were conducted by the White George Bush.

    All of this shows just how hypocritical and politically unprincipled the AA collective is. The same could be said for the fake individuals that pass as the political “left” in this country. Suddenly, many of the policies that they screamed about when conducted by Bush are okay . . . or at least not worth speaking out about.”

    It is quit amazing to see the White Liberal left and the Black left go to great lengths to cover or to pretend that Obama did not say one thing during the campaign ie no health insurance mandates, and act like everyone who questions some of his policies are either racist or self hating Blacks. I agree with the other posters. Most AA’s are not preparing for this jobless recovery. They seem to be still celebrating the Obama presidency and thinking he will take care of us even though he repeatedly stated he will not do any race based solutions for AA unemployment issues. Instead of focing on what AA’s can do to create businesses that can employee AA people we seem to be begging and waiting for the government. And that’s what really bothers me. The waiting. What are we waiting for? We wait for BM to act right. Did Harriet Tubman wait? Why are we waiting to live a better life? We do not need permission from the government, BM or anyone else to live a good life.

  12. This is not a new problem among AAs. I forgot to mention the example of how Bryant Gumbel AND his siblings treated their mother. The following passage from the 9/26/88 edition of Sports Illustrated gives the flavor of how these affluent AAs had their mother living:

    “It’s 98° in Chicago, and Rhea Gumbel, 68, has all the windows open in her seventh-floor apartment. She has an air conditioner in the bedroom, but it’s not enough to cool the whole apartment. She would go somewhere cooler if she had the energy or a car, but she has neither. Sold the car. Too much trouble. So five mornings a week, she takes the bus to her job as a city clerk. Plenty are the days when she wishes she could afford to retire.

    “Did you see what Oprah Winfrey bought her mother the other day?” one of the other clerks asked Rhea recently. “A brand-new beautiful mansion, that’s what.” Rhea knows what that woman would loooove to say next: And your son, the big-shot NBC man, host of the “Today” show, what does he give you? You live in a lousy apartment. You won’t go out at night and get milk because you’re afraid of walking in the streets. What kind of fancy son is this you have?

    Still, she would never ask him for money. For one thing, she’s too proud. For another, “It would hurt me like a knife if he said no. Besides, if he wanted to do something for me, he’d go ahead and do it on his own, wouldn’t he?”

    She knows what the trouble is. She has this one glaring fault. She’s not his father.

    Judge Richard Gumbel was a big man, 6’1″, four inches taller than his younger son, Bryant. Richard, the child of a New Orleans gambler, was “one of the most amazing men I’ve ever met,” says Dr. Norman Francis, president of Xavier.”

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1067784/2/index.htm

    Now, I don’t necessarily feel overly sorry for their mother—I don’t know what the whole story was behind their neglect of her. And, after all, she was one of the two people who raised these nuts.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  13. Lunanoire,

    There’s never any way to know in advance how certain decisions are going to work out. I would suggest that people who want children should plan to have them—and actively prepare to do their best by their children. Regardless of concerns about the economy or anything else.

    Children who turn out to be faithful and caring people CAN be a huge source of assistance in one’s elder years. But that’s always a gamble. One can’t count on children. Even if they were raised to be good people, there are always that percentage of children who get on “their own (negative) program.”

    What I’m saying is that the bulk of AA mothers (that’s who’s doing the parenting among AAs) are raising children that WON’T be there for them in their hour of need. We see this everyday.

    I believe the best strategy is to cultivate as many quality, mutually supportive relationships as possible. This includes having a network of close, mutually supportive friends in addition to having marriage and biological family ties. This is what I tried to stress during the True Fellowship series of posts at the previous blog. AAs survived the previous Depression in large part because we still had intact families and intact social networks of people we could turn to. Right now, LARGE numbers of AA women have NOBODY watching their backs. This is a recipe for ending up (along with one’s children) in the condition that Minister Farrakhan described as “hungry, naked, and out of doors.”
    _________________________________

    Nathifa,

    You said, “Most AA’s are not preparing for this jobless recovery. They seem to be still celebrating the Obama presidency and thinking he will take care of us even though he repeatedly stated he will not do any race based solutions for AA unemployment issues.”

    Well, unfortunately, such AAs are on schedule to end up “hungry, naked, and out of doors.”

    You said, “Instead of focing on what AA’s can do to create businesses that can employee AA people we seem to be begging and waiting for the government. And that’s what really bothers me.”

    I hear you. I find this behavior pattern to be annoying. The next step will be these people doing the traditional AA strategy of crying out in pain for somebody else to come to their rescue.

    Meanwhile, the absolute and enduring silence about New Orleans and the Gulf coast that AAs tolerate/enable from Black politicians (including Pres. Obama)…

    …means that we’ve already taught these politicians that it’s okay with us if they literally ignore us to death. Just as long as we can see some “Black faces in high places.”

    Whatever. As I said at the earlier blog, I’m busy building my Ark; and plan to ultimately convert it into a luxury cruise ship. My conscience is clear because I did what I could to warn folks and give sincere advice. And I’ll sip sparkling apple cider from the ship’s deck while the deluded masses of AAs drown in the flood waters that various people warned them about. Including the warnings that the Nation of Islam gave AAs for 70+ years about the folly of depending on Whites to continue to feed and clothe us. As we speak, the flood waters are already around the necks of large numbers of AAs, but yet they’re still in their Obama-induced delirium. Oh, well…

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  14. SouthlandDiva says:

    @ lunanoire

    Despite being reared well by parents, it does not necessarily follow that those children will care for their parents, especially if the choice is between the welfare of their children and the welfare of their parents. Having children as some type of insurance for later years is questionable at best. We’ve all heard stories of the elder in a nursing home or retirement community who rarely to never is visited by their children.

    So, what is a childfree person to do? Create a community of friends who share your common values and interests. Intentional communities. It’s never to early to creating a network of friends (married or single) who can be counted on to be concerned about your welfare. (To wit, two weeks ago I had emergency surgery and the number of people calling/texting me to call them if I needed anything was humbling and amazing!)

    @Khadija

    Well, heck Khadija! 🙂

    I composed my response to lunanoire before I read further downthread. So, of course I’m saying virtually the same thing you did!! The post regarding Mrs. Gumbel is a prime example of the uncertainty of ‘nature’s social security’.

    IRT to peak oil & politics…..kinda, I keep wondering why the media isn’t talking about the increase in gas prices. During the presidential elections everyone was so upset at the rising prices. Now people don’t seem to be as outraged……

    However, I don’t have cable, so maybe I’m missing all the sturm und drang.

    Peace

  15. Karen says:

    Will people have sufficient resources in the new age to feed their kids? Do they have enough land to grow more crops or skills of value that can be traded in order to obtain necessities?

    No, not unless changes are made now. The fact is that U.S. farming has become production based farming to learn more about this google “The Future of Food” video.

    The most viable approaches are as follows:

    1) family gardens
    2) communal farms (small community or neighborhoods coming together)
    3) Support CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and organic farmers via farmers markets(they are using non GE seeds and also avoiding or eliminating the use of fertilizers and pesticides which are chemical and oil based)

    As it is the U.S. consumers do not pay the true cost of food as it is so heavily subsidized to the benefit of everyone but the farmer. Therefore by default, farmers markets and organic farm produce cost more, however, the quality and health of their food along with genetic diversity makes it worth the price. It is all a matter of priorities. In the non-oil or minimal oil future, health care as we know it will cease to exist. The only defense available is to do everything to promote healthy living starting by what one eats.

    In the non-consumer based economy (and non-oil based), traditional skills and services will be those most needed. People who can build, repair/fix things, those that can provide care and basic medical needs (such has herbal medicines and the like) will be in high demand.

    Again, how soon all this will come to pass is unknown, but those who are wise will start to acquire the skills and the resources (via books and the like) to increase their preparedness.

    It is a BIG assumption to believe that that the internet will still be available in the post peak oil future. If it is, it will either be costly or controlled with regards to access. Therefore it is prudent to acquire old world/old culture knowledge now while it is still readily accessible.

    Sorry, Khadija for going so off-topic to the original post…

  16. SouthlandDiva,

    Great minds think alike! 🙂

    I haven’t been watching tv, so I don’t know what’s being discussed on there. But I suspect that at this point, most of the sheeple (AAs included) only perceive the issues as consisting of the ones that are mentioned on tv. And so, if it’s not being mentioned in the “mainstream” news, then they’re not talking about it.

    And those are the AA sheeple who watch/read the “news.” I suspect that most of them are focusing the bulk of their attention on the gossip blogs (both genders of AA sheep), sports (for the BM sheep), American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, and kiss-and-tell books like Karrine “Superhead” Steffan’s book(s).
    ___________________________________________

    Karen,

    I don’t mind because I’m the one who took this conversation off-topic in reply to a reader’s comment! 🙂
    ___________________________________________

    Here’s an excellent post about the (same as Bush and escalating Bush’s evil) policies that AA sheeple and nonblack “leftist” sheeple are blindly supporting when they blindly support Pres. Barry Obama.

    http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1953-the-accomodationists-memo-to-liberals-on-the-white-house-death-warrants.html

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  17. foreverloyal says:

    I just put an iron in the fire. It’s not hot yet, but I’ll let you know when it is!