Thoughts Are Things.



I hold it true that thoughts are things;

They’re endowed with bodies and breath and wings

And that we send them forth to fill

The world with good results, or ill.

That which we call our secret thought

Speeds forth to earth’s remotest spot,

Leaving its blessings or its woes

Like tracks behind it as it goes.

We build our future, thought by thought,

For good or ill, yet know it not.

Yet, so the universe was wrought.

Thought is another name for fate;

Choose, then, thy destiny and wait,

For love brings love and hate brings hate.

– Henry Van Dyke



Photos by Emily Murdoch

 I stumbled across the poem above, and it stuck to me like gum on my shoe. Wonderful gum. 

I hope everyone had a great writing weekend.

As I chug down Query Road, I read the signs along the way. “Be brave”, “Write hard”, “Choose your words carefully”, “Don’t give up”. Rest areas become writing forums, writer’s blogs, writing friends, and all the people, places and things that encourage, commiserate and make the trip bearable, and even, sometimes, amazing. 

Thank God for the rest stops along the way. 

If you, like me, are clutching a rejection slip (or three) in your hand this weekend, don’t forget that Jack Kerouac couldn’t get any takers for On The Road, at first. How sad it would’ve been if he had given up. Or, how about Madeleine L’Engle, Newbery Award winning author of A Wrinkle in Time

She flouted popular wisdom by writing in a style that editors and critics thought was too difficult for young people to read, too childish for adults — even though the scientific concepts and philosophical ideas actually were not that easy even for grown-ups to grasp. So it took ten years for her unusual stories to be published. The manuscript of A Wrinkle in Time collected rejection slips for two and a half years before a publisher took a chance on it. “You can’t name a major publisher who didn’t reject it. They all did.” But she was never tempted to compromise her vision in order to play it safe.

From Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi      

So chug on, brave and weary writers, because you never know what tomorrow has in store. (Yup, that’s me in the car next to you, waving wildly and honking the horn and using exclamation points!)   

16 Responses

  1. Beautiful, Em! Hey, three queries means you’ve been sending them out there – this is a good thing. Let’s get some more out there – more queries, and more books. Never, ever, give up.

  2. Awesome. Love the poem, the photos, the anecdote about L’Engle’s rejections. It always amazes me how close some of these wonderful books came to never seeing publication. Thank goodness there are some editors out there with vision. All we have to do is find them! 😉

  3. Oops, forgot to say I’m sorry to hear about your rejections, as well. Hang in there, I think you’re a fine writer.

  4. Hey Em,

    Thanks for the inspiring post. I love the story regarding L’Engle.

    And-could you send your sunsets over here? 🙂

  5. Thank you for the inspiring words and fantastic pix…a thought certainly can be a powerful thing! especially positive ones 🙂 rejection is unbelievably hard to deal with sometimes [I tend to take it quite personally] and we all need to remember we are not alone on this journey! Have a beautiful week watching those lovely skies:)

  6. Thank you for your amazing complement–it definitely brightened my bitter mood right now 🙂

    I really liked yours too! There’s a lot of good ones on there.

    It’s funny; the first two lines came to me in under five minutes; I spent a good half hour on the last one.

    I know in time those rejection letters will turn to requests for partials–remember each rejection is one step closer to finding the one who will offer representation 🙂

  7. As always, a positive and wise message, Em! I admire your perspective.

  8. Thank you, Uppington : )

    Make that four rejections, now — I just received another one.

    I’m okay with them, strangely enough, in the sense that I’m actually getting used to receiving rejection slips. It’s a good thing.

    You just dust off your behind and get back up on the horse.

    So yes, definitely — Onward and upward! Something better this way comes, and I’m cheering for all of us. : )


  9. Thank you, Digital Dame, for the compliment on my writing. You definitely know how to brighten a gal’s day. : )

    Yes, it never ceases to amaze me, how many good books could’ve easily never seen the light of day.

    And, it makes you wonder how many books perhaps haven’t, and we just don’t know it.

    You are very kind. : ) Thank you.


  10. Hey Tasha. : )

    Well, if I can’t send the sunsets your way, at least I can share, right?

    As for L’Engle, I was quite surprised — that an author of her skill and abilities and a book that remains a lifelong favorite for many of us had such a tough road to publication.

    It does give aspiring writers, myself included, hope about their own work.


  11. Hi Janflora. : )

    I couldn’t agree with you more — the rejection can be really tough to take, especially considering how much work and heart goes into most aspiring novelists’ work.

    I look for hope and inspiration on the journey wherever I can find it, and having all of my writing buddies on the road with me is the best hope of all.

    {{{{{{{{{{ all of you }}}}}}}}}}}

    : )


  12. Thank you, Dara!

    Dara is talking about the Query Haiku Contest hosted by Colleen Lindsay of FinePrint Literary Agency.

    Post your query in Haiku format — that’s three lines of 5,7,5 syllables — here:

    You can win a free in-depth query critique. Deadline is tonight (Friday the 20th of February ’09) at midnight.

    I had a blast writing mine, and as always, any time the query process can be made fun, I’m there:

    Death nabs the wrong girl
    loose ends tie in knots, not bows
    go home again, ghost.


  13. Thanks, Steph. : )

    As you know, I work hard on staying positive, and growing from this crazy Query Road experience!

    What else can we do, right? Keep a positive outlook, have hope, and work hard. Regardless of what happens with the writing, it’s a credo for a meaningful life.


  14. P.S. to all —

    Let me know if you enter the query haiku contest. We can cheer for each other. : )


  15. Wow, great pictures. Cool blog. 😀

  16. Thank you so much, ElanaJ.

    I smiled to see you — I recognized your name right off, from other writing blogs. : )

    Thank you so much for visiting, and for your kind comment!


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