This is an exercise in intentional Reality Therapy. You may find it interesting to try.
So letís say a good fairy comes along and offers you three wishes—what would you wish for? And the rule is that itís just three wishes; you canít make any wishes for more wishes. Itís no use trying to cheat the fairies. If you do, it irritates them, and they just get even trickier.
This is not a question with simple answers, even though it might seem so at first. We all know the fairy tales of incautious wishes that rebound on the wisher in some dire way. You have to get your wishes just right, with no loopholes.
One of the things that helps us to get to where we want to be is to know where that is, to have a goal. If I have a sense of who I want to be when Iím 90, I will be able to look at my present choices and at least have some idea if they are likely to help me to or hinder me from reaching that goal. (There is stuff on working with this in Sun Over Mountain.) It gives me a standard or a scale to help me evaluate choices. It wonít necessarily make all my decisions clear and obvious, but it will help to clarify many of them.
In a similar way, if I have a sense of where I want to be (in fairly general terms) in five years, there is a certain magic that happens to help me to get there. For example, one of the Ďplacesí I would like to be in five years is to have at least another two books published by really good and appropriate-for-me publishers, and a third book complete or nearly so. Now, in order for this to happen, obviously I have to do a lot of writing. But there is more to it than that.
I did say really good publishers (*please see footnote)—organized, good businessmen, ethical, efficient, reasonably clear about their own motivations and actions—all that good stuff so that we both make a lot of money in ways we can feel pleased about. And it would be lovely if he is more than just good at his job—he or she could even be someone who has sufficient personal understanding of the Ďmagical lifeí to appreciate my work and to deal with me appropriately. No jerks! No toads! No people who are so screwed up that they screw other people around without even realizing that what they are doing is inappropriate behavior for an adult human.
Unfortunately, I cannot easily evaluate a prospective publisher for their effectiveness, ethicality (that probably isnít a real word, but you know what I mean) and general suitability. All I can do is to put the intention out there, trusting that the universe will accept my intention/energy and respond appropriately. The amazing thing is that it so often does. And the more clear my intention, the more it seems that the response is faster and more specific. The trick is in clarifying without over-clarifying the intention.
I need to state the result I really want, without telling the universe how to go about getting it for me. In this example, I need to say what kind of a publisher I want rather than deciding that a particular publisher is the Ďrightí one and asking the universe to help me to get him to accept my books. I need to be clear about end results, and if I am, the path to that result will gradually unfold itself. Sometimes this happens in such clear and direct ways that it is quite astonishing—just like when you pick up the phone to dial someone and there they are, already on the line, having called you but you picked up the phone before it rang.
The trouble with being too specific is that we often get what we ask for and then find that it doesnít give us the result that we actually wanted. An example: the man who wanted a secure, steady job, but insisted on asking for a job with a particular company, saying that he knew that it would provide him with the security he wanted. He got the job and the firm went bankrupt six months later. He actually learned something from this, which is more than a lot of us do.
Even though I know this stuff works, Iím still surprised when it works as well as it sometimes does.
You may get tired of hearing me trying to understand this publishing business and publishers and their eccentricities, but itís just a bit of reality therapy the universe is giving me on both the mundane and the otherworld levels. Eventually Iíll come to terms with all this. You might ask yourself, what in your life is presently taking the place of publishers in mine?
All rights reserved.
This was first published in Otherworld Arts, 1995.
Revised and expanded 2005.