Wednesday, November 11, 2009


"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it." - Henry David Thoreau

Besides thinking of our Veterans, which included reading about, and posting an article about Veteran’s Day on facebook, I also wanted to spend the day off being productive. Did I accomplish my goal? You be the judge.

10. Number of submissions sent via e-mail this morning

9. Number of submissions I sent this morning still pending (I already

received one auto-reply e-mail that the agency is not accepting

admissions until February 2010)

8. Quantity of dishes fed to four children for breakfast and lunch

7. Number of hours I had four children since waking up this morning, until

two of them were picked up by their mother

6. Areas that were cleaned by children and me

5. Quantity of main dishes, soups, and sides made for dinner tonight for

my children, and separately for a friend, my husband, and me

4. Number of children in my house since 7pm last night

3. Times that the dishwasher was emptied and reloaded

2. Loads of laundry washed, hung, dried, and folded + types of

seafood purchased at the fish store

1. One tired chick.

0. Amount of jobs to apply for, after searching the Internet

I can’t tell if the Thoreau quote applies to me in a positive or negative way. If I’m busy looking for a job and submitting manuscripts, will that make me successful? Or does the very act of looking make me less likely to be successful? If I don’t look, how are employers, agents, and publishers supposed to find me? What should I be busy doing instead? Perhaps I should have found a better quote. Thoreau has helped me in the past, but this time, I think he’s too ambiguous. Will the mere fact that I was busy ensure success? We’ll see, Mr. Thoreau.


  1. Insane! What's your secret...I can't even manage 1 child and 1 small hound.

  2. Thanks. I don't know the age of your child, but I wouldn't have been able to do this with a baby or toddler. At my children’s ages they're (usually) able to keep themselves occupied. And I have a cat, which is lower-maintenance than a dog. Most days are not this productive, and I was cranky by 6pm - especially when the frittata wouldn't set.

  3. Heheh, this is like that Paul C's quote game.

    My understanding of the quote interprets it as an observation of a trend: people who single-mindedly strive to achieve something succeed more often than everyone else.

    There is no statement of absolutes in his sentence. In effect, it boils down to: if you try real hard you have better chances of succeeding.

    Put like that it seems obvious, doesn't it?

    You are striving and you are working hard to get what you want, you have better chances of succeeding than someone who isn't. So I guess that would make the quote apply to you in a neutral/positive way...

  4. Alesa, I forgot about this post. The quote does remind me of Paul C's quote game. Some of his quotes were much harder to figure out.

    Excellent explanation. I figured it was something like that. But I thought it was funnier to be confused by its vague message.

  5. They were? I thought they were all pretty self explanatory... And I was surprised when I read in the comments that everyone didn't think so.
    Maybe being raised on koans has given me a talent for it. Or maybe I just misinterpreted them all. : j If I did, Paul didn't mention it. Heheh.

    You're right it is funnier.

  6. Alesa, as I've already mentioned on your blog, you're smarter than me. Of course you understood them all.

  7. You're the second blogger to tell me something like that in the space a few weeks.

    I wonder what gives people that impression (my methodical approach to things perhaps).

    I'm not sure I'm comfortable with it... What am I going to do when people expect me to say intelligent stuff? Oh oh, I know! I'll fake it!
    "Yes, yes... wisdom- Wisdom is like wet cat food. It smells the same regardless of whether you buy the pricey stuff or not."
    Hmm, maybe my plan leaves somthing to be desired. ; j

    As for quotes... Well, quotes are like stories.
    They're often taken out of the context that gives them full meaning. If you imagine the context it's a lot easier to grok.

    Maybe Thoreau is was telling someone that instead of dreaming/fantasizing about achieving some nebulous idea of success they should strive for excellence in their chosen field?

    He's an interesting guy! I had never heard about it until I looked up reading this post.

  8. Thoreau, Twain, and Wilde are my favorite quote sources.

    The eloquence of your argument argues against your assertion about intelligence. Sorry!

  9. Wilde and Twain are great sources of quotes... Wit and sarcasm beautifully combined with humor and irreverence.
    I tend to go to fictional characters for quotes because i can't remember quotes unless they are part of a story (and not many at that). : j

  10. Fiction is a good source. I've done that a couple of times. Movies and songs sometimes have the quote I'm looking for too. Quote hunting is one of the best parts of writing my posts.