Looking at the Stars

This morning when I took Jake out at five am, the Southern sky was ablaze with stars. We don’t often see them here in the city because of cloud cover caused by high humidity and because of “light pollution.”  But this morning they were bright and clear and seemed so much closer to Earth than usual. I was reminded of that old quote from Oscar WIlde: “We’re all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.”

Mr. Wilde was well known for his excesses and this quote probably referred to being falling-down drunk, but taken in a larger context, it reminds me that almost everybody is struggling against hopelessness, fear, and worry. This is certainly the case among many writers I know. Hundreds of venerable magazines have shuttered their offices and turned fine writers onto the street. Publishing houses are trimming their lists and dropping great writers whose books have not made sales projections. It’s a rough time to be a writer.

Sum_Pleiades_Dec_2007_4_x_10_mins_each_2x2_RGB_ps_1_lowBut some people refuse to be beaten down by circumstances, and instead, are looking up at the stars, intent upon reaching a better future and the promise of happier days.Some authors have retreated from the stresses of traditional publishing to strike out on their own. A few are succeeding as self-publishing entrepreneurs, most are not. At least not yet. But dreams and goals are important. They give us a reason to wake up in the morning.

Whatever circumstances are discouraging you today, whatever burden seems too heavy to bear, I hope you will find encouragement in Mr. Wilde’s words, and that you will keep hoping and planning, and keep looking up at the stars.