Tuesday, September 24, 2013
As a kid, I couldn't stand Bugs Bunny (he's such a debonair know-it-all). But I loved Wil E. Coyote. Here's a character who goes from humiliating failure to humiliating failure with no loss of (sneaky, Acme-anvil-induced) enthusiasm. I loved him as The Perpetual Loser, the Little Guy, The Tramp; this was before I moved to Boston and become a Red Sox fan, in the decade when they won nothing.
Wil E. is indefatigable. Every one of his defeats is a set-up for another try. In this way he's a good model. For writers like me, who mostly truck in rejection. If you aren't being rejected 99% of the time you're not trying hard enough is what I wrote to myself while reading Annie Dillard's A Writing Life. And I've lived up to this: I am getting rejected nine times out of ten. This is working! This is the life! Woo-hoo! Like the old fisherman tells the young fisherman who comes home dejected and fish-less, "Son, it's not for nothing they call it 'fishing' and don't call it 'catching.'"
There joy in casting one's line into the waters, as I suspected all the long that Wil E Coyote knew. That bird is out there. Just knowing you want it. That wanting makes the ride through the canyons and mesas and dried out places of life focused and tantalizing little adventures.