Acceptance vs. Surrender

I had a therapist who was really big on acceptance. We didn't work out.

He was a really nice guy who clearly cared deeply about me--and, I presume, the rest of his patients. And I learned a lot from him. But I think we had fundamental philosophical differences in the end.

I was thirty years old. I had some issues that I'd hoped he could help me develop strategies to resolve. For instance, I worried that the way I related to women, and my fairly backwards ideals about masculinity and sexuality, would prevent me from ever finding myself in a happy and healthy romantic relationship.

I'd hoped that he could help me work through my hangups about sex and masculinity and move toward a healthier frame of reference.

But ultimately, he counselled me to accept that maybe I might never be ready for the kind of relationship I wanted. And that just didn't sit well with me.

Look, I'm all about acceptance. I'm colourblind, for example, and I've accepted that my colourblindness means I'll never work on ships or drive a train. I've accepted my limitations.

I'll never know, for instance, what this says:

(That's a lie; I had someone read it out for me. It was awkward.)

I can accept things that I don't think I can change. But last summer I was overweight and unhappy with my body. I could have accepted that I was overweight and striven to live a life that made peace with my dissatisfaction in that regard.

Or I could put in the work and make changes.

Well, I put in the work. I've dropped forty pounds since the summer. I feel a lot better about myself.

And hey, I've put in the work on the mental side, too. I no longer define my sense of worth based on the number of women I've slept with, or any other asinine external expectations.

I look forward to someday finding the right partner and having a happy and healthy romantic relationship.

I'm glad I didn't accept otherwise.

All of this is to say that I've been thinking about the concept of acceptance a lot lately. And how there's a fine line between accepting what you can't change, and surrendering when change is too much work.

I've been thinking about this in relation to my career.

The other day I learned that my publisher doesn't plan to put out a paperback edition of GALE FORCE, my latest novel. This is, to be honest, really disappointing.

What it means is that it will be very difficult for the book to earn out its advance.

What that means, in practical terms, is that you're not likely to see any more GALE FORCE books in the near future, if at all.

(You're not likely to see any new Stevens & Windermere novels, either, I'm sorry to say.)

No paperback edition is, as someone close to me put it, a death sentence for the book.

Why this is frustrating and disappointing is that I believe that GALE FORCE *is* a paperback book. It's a high seas adventure novel you buy on a whim and pack to the beach with you. It's a fun summer read.

I don't know many people who have the means to spend $30 on books they're not sure about. Most us wait for the ten-dollar mass-market paperback.

And GALE FORCE is new and different. It has multiple starred reviews, excellent reader response and blurbs from some of the biggest names in the business.

I firmly believe that a paperback edition would attract new readers to my books and put us in a good position to launch this series.

I'm disappointed because I feel that the book isn't getting a chance. And, consequently, the series I've mapped out in my head might never see the light of day.

But, like I said, this is a post about acceptance.

I've been trying to decide what I need to accept, and what I can work to change.

In a previous post I talked about not taking it personally when my books weren't showing up in airports anymore.

And I firmly believe that you can't take this stuff personally. This is a business, and people are going to make business decisions.

But the thing is, it's a business on both sides.

And this current way of doing business, it's not working out for me.

And I just can't accept that any longer.