Friday, November 17, 2006

The Measure of Success

There is probably one thing I’m always going to be misunderstood for, and that’s my attitude towards success, and what really makes a person successful. Is it awards? Because Britney Spears has won her share of those. Is it fame? We all know who Kevin Federline is, and I wish I didn’t. Is it money? I could throw out a long list of people with plenty of money that I would never want to trade places with.

Yet for some reason I can’t seem to make people understand that to me, success is being read. Success is the chance to do more with your work. Success is having the opportunity to grow through your work.

I have heard some say that if they didn’t have a publishing deal they’d likely never write another book. Me, I can’t imagine that. Writing has always been a part of my life – it’s just that my fiction has only been public in the past few years.

Success is being able to keep doing what I love.

That’s why I’m thrilled my name will be in the first issue of Out of the Gutter. Another chance for me to try something new, and in that case twisted. I’m sure you all know now that Killer Year sold the anthology, and that’s another golden opportunity to do what I love.

And I’m working on something else that, if pulled off, will be the coup d’État – my biggest personal achievement.

It’s a good thing to stop sometimes, and appreciate how far you’ve come, but I’m more inclined to make the pause short and keep my eyes on the road and think more about where I’m going.

I know I’ve said it before, but when I took down the book that ultimately set me on this course years ago, I didn’t know anything about the author, and I didn’t care. I didn’t know if he sold 10,000 copies of each book, 30,000 or half a million. I didn’t know if the author lived in a small flat or an enormous house, or if he could afford a car or not. It made no difference to me, or my appreciation of his work. All that mattered was that I read that book and thought, If I could write half as well I’d be happy.

Great authors are about more than money and sales. They’re about the art of writing. They live for it. If I had a day job outside the house I know I’d write less. But I also know I’d never stop.

I can blame SW Vaughn for tagging me with the Six Weird Things About Me meme. As though my blog isn’t proof of enough weirdness…

1. I have been hit by a car twice. On each occasion I was hit while riding a bike. I have technically been in three car vs bicycle scenarios, but in the last incident the car pulled out in front of me, so I hit it. They failed to stop at a stop sign (and it was in a parking lot, so they were obstructed from my view by a dumpster). On one previous incident I was hit by a drunk driver who failed to stop. The first accident happened when I was 8 years old, and it was the worst incident. I was sent flying through the air and cut my head on landing, requiring stitches. The man who hit me had just turned 80. His birthday cake also flew through the air.

I was not at fault in any of these accidents, btw. That should count for double weirdness.

2. My right foot was partially severed just before I turned 9. As a result, my right leg is a touch longer than my left leg, and I had to learn how to walk again. The main muscle was only nicked enough to require dissolving stitches, or I wouldn’t have been able to walk again.

It is true that the doctor who stitched my foot threatened to cut it off if I didn’t stop screaming. I would have suggested he had issues with children, but then, I went to school with his son so I could sympathize…

3. I dressed up as a pregnant woman in a human scavenger hunt once. It was so convincing that when I dropped something in the mall, people came over to help me.

4. I hate – absolutely hate, with a passion – being called Sandy. For some reason, Sandra is a tough name. I do not mind people pronouncing it Saundra. I do not mind the shortened Sara, which some children I worked with used, because they couldn’t pronounce the blended consonants. Some friends do call me Sam, which I also do not mind. But I hate Sandy.

5. The names for my male protagonists in the two different series were chosen based on male names I liked that my husband would never have let me pick for a child, if we’d had one. Jack is a name with family and personal history. I worked with a child named Tymen, and was exceptionally fond of him.

6. I don’t know if it counts as weird, but it definitely fits with stupid. I have kissed the Blarney Stone. And if it doesn’t count as weird, I’ll give you a bonus fact. I don’t like the name Ian. I knew this real jerk named Ian as a kid… I’m sure I’m not the only person whose impression of a name is tainted by association.

Speaking of weird, it’s official. Calgary law bans spitting, swearing and urinating in public. Fuck. I’d better start going to Edmonton. And if they’re going to start being so anal, why couldn’t they ban farting in public?


And in other news…

As long as there are idiots handing down light sentences for serious offenses there will always be room for the social and political commentary that crime fiction is. I have to say that I’m disgusted by the Lack Of Justice System operating in this country. I’m surprised they didn’t call these young girls into court and tell them it was their fault they got raped, because a sentence of two years time served for one participant pretty much translates into that sentiment. It’s more than an insult – it’s a tragedy.

Did you know that the province of Alberta is rat free? An Edmonton cop is in hot water for wanting the police department to live up to the provincial standard.

The possibility of parole in 7 years? What does it take to get locked up for a significant amount of time in this country?

23 comments:

angie said...

Congratulations, Sandra. Glad to hear you're taking a moment to enjoy it all!

Eileen said...

The image of that birthday cake flying is really strong. I can't wait for your book.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks Angie - oops, moment's over. Onward and upward.

Eileen, apparently it tasted good but looked really bad.

anne frasier said...

you'll always be santa to me.

loved the federline line and the part about the birthday cake. i laughed too much and scared the cat.

Sandra Ruttan said...

LOL Anne! I hope that has nothing to do with being jolly, fat and having a white beard.

What irks me about people like KF is I'm completely not interested in them. I don't read People, I don't watch much TV, and I don't listen to pop radio. And I still know who they are.

Make it stop...

Trace said...

I'm not interested in them at all either, Sandra. And I'd never call you Sandy.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Ah, so glad I'm not alone Trace!

And glad to know you'd never call me by that hideous title... I mean, lovely for others. Just not me.

Anonymous said...

Britney and Kevin Doing It!
www.minor-ripper.blogspot.com

SAND STORM said...

Hey Sandy I knew you were a thrice hit, almost severed legged writer the moment I hit you on my birthday and lost that damn cake! Luv Ian


sorry couldn't resist:)

Sandra Ruttan said...

Okay, woah Ripper. Sorry, I'm not going to go there.

Sand Storm, bloody hell... Kind of funny, though.

M. G. Tarquini said...

Hey! My husband's name is Ian!

Lots of good things happening at once, Sandra. Enjoy!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Sorry Mindy! Too much time being persecuted by that rotten boy! I'm glad Trace usually goes by Trace, because you don't want to hear my stories about the name Tracy. Grrr. Or Shannon.

Did you know I had a cabbage patch doll named Mindy?

Bet you feel special now. And I'm not lying...

S. W. Vaughn said...

Hee hee hee! I was hoping you'd pick up the tag!! :-)

Kissed the Blarney stone, eh? I gotta admit, if I was near it, I would have to. You know, just in case. *G*

I agree with your definition of success. Totally.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I'd just put some plastic between your lips and the stone, SW. I mean, imagine all the diseases. You know, I got really sick that summer as well, terrible throat infection, lasted four months...

And it wasn't because I kissed something else disease-infected!

Amra Pajalic said...

I love your idea of success. It's something I aspire to.

Daniel Hatadi said...

*pops head out from behind Microsoft Word*

What Amra said.

*pops back*

Jack Ruttan said...

Alberta sucks. Lemme rephrase that: aspects of Alberta suck, and when you're away for a long time, as I've been, they tend to stick out.

(Quebec has a long history of cherishing bad or unflattering news about Ontario or the West. But while living in Calgary, I used to hear mainly about separatists and splashy crime in Quebec).

Also, those aspects will hit you in the face if you're just visiting. Still, there's lots I liked about Alberta, but also the yee-haa Ralph Klein oil millionaire mindset that chased me away.

(lots of people, including my family, asking when I was going to drop this art and writing pipe dream and find a 'real' (ie. oil-related) job.)

The crime in Quebec is still interesting, though. (Good for thriller writers, a few of whome live here) Gotta love the Journal de Montreal.

John McFetridge said...

Does Allo Police! still publish in Quebec?

Speaking of prison sentences, here's something. In Canada if you're sentenced to less than two years you go to a provincial prison. More than that, you go to a federal prison. In a provincial prison you usually serve one third of your sentence, in a fed, one sixth. So now, many criminals are asking for longer sentences, so they can go to federal prison and serve less time.

Funny, eh?

Jack Ruttan said...

Nope. It's been "Au Revoir" Police for a few years now. I imagine people get their gory true crime en francais from teh internets, like the rest of us.

Sandra Ruttan said...

"Au Revoir Police"

I find that amusing.

I find it more amusing that there's such a skewed perception that Canada is this nice, crime-free place... You guys almost make Montreal sound interesting. ;)

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I don't even know what to say after all of that, other than..."You came through it all!"

Anonymous said...

Well, Samdra, I was going to come and visit you someday. Now I can't...the law. I spit, swear and pee beside of trees.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Erik, I don't live in Calgary. As long as we don't visit the city, we're safe. ;)