You can't win if you don't play

So says the old adage and it's variant: you can't succeed if you don't try. Which is all well and good but it does bring up another argument, a perspective far more comfortable to my glass-half-wait-where's-my-glass? mindset: you can't fail if you don't try. This mode of thinking stops me from trying a million, zillion things. Last year, I was so afraid of losing I didn't bother entering a small photo contest friends encouraged me to try. I was so certain everyone else's photos would be far superior to mine. When they announced the winners, I was filled with immediate regret. The winning photos were fine, some even good. But I would have stood a really good chance of winning with the shots I had selected. Unfortunately, we'll never know as I chose the comfort of catatonia instead.

I'm mentioning all of this because I'm trying to bring myself to apply for something. It's this: a summer fellowship at the Norman Mailer's Writers Colony in Provincetown, Mass.  It's an amazing opportunity. Twenty-eight days to focus on writing and, perhaps even more important for me at this point in time, to discuss writing and receive feedback on my work. It's even a free ride. Applications are due March 10. One week from today.

The hitch? They pick seven writers for this session. And my mind's already decided that I won't be one of them. I'm already so sure that I won't make the cut that I'm in the process of talking myself out of submitting an application. Yes, Dr. Freud, I know this is fear talking, but when it comes to writing, I have so much of it. It's easier to stay in my little box and not give it a shot.


Why do I feel like this is a scene in a movie where triumphant, bass-pumping music will build in the background as I realize I've got to give it a shot? One shot. One opportunity. Yes, Eminem would be involved.

And why am I writing about this here? For one thing, just to get it off my chest. But, more importantly, because it's been my experience that if I write something here, at least one or two of you reach out and keep me accountable. What I'm saying is, I'll do it. I'm going to do it. I'm going to apply and I'm going to tell you that I'm going to apply, which means that if I don't get in, I have to be willing to cop to that and deal with the ramifications of not being good enough and people knowing that I'm not.

Maybe it will all help me take one step closer to being someone who believes that trying is worth something all on its own.

Yeah. Maybe.