After The Final No

Whiskey

Whiskey

After the final no there comes a yes
And on that yes the future world depends.

                         – Wallace Stevens

I led my first book, Hidden Victims Hidden Healers with this verse from Wallace Stevens.  I chose it to remind myself, and the reader, that there is a yes there, somewhere.

You know as well as me, life is full of various versions of “NO:” rejections, pit falls, mistakes, losses, disappointments, misses, and more rejections. With the above book it took three years to find a publisher and I could have wallpapered my home at the time with rejections. (No internet, so all rejections came through post). So, Yes, the Yes felt good. But the final no, a rejection from a good publisher made it possible for me to land Doubleday. Doubleday was that yes.

I have come to depend on the noes as well as the yeses. The rejections and disappointments are just road signs now, sometimes detours, often times better traveled than the Yes I had hoped for.

One publisher or person rejects me, only to open the possibility for a future yes.

But the Yeses are good. The future world does indeed depend upon our yeses as they are understood as acceptance and a sure sign to “move ahead.”  But rejections and disappointments, endings and falls, can be the same thing. They too point us in a direction; just not the one we had first intended. Of course every miss and rejection has gotten each of us to where we are now. And, I like where I am. Yes, I have places to go still; books to write. But I have come to see rejections as a valuable part of the overall forward movement of my life and work. My disappointments don’t hold me down (for long) because I know what this means––there will be a final no, then the yes will come and when it does I witness how my noes got me to this yes.

In the poem is the line: “No was the night.” And who among us doesn’t write through the dark, depend on the night too for inspiration and rest? Both the light and dark depend upon each other, as we can upon the ups and downs, the bleak and the abundance, the rejections and the acceptances in our life.

Here is the entire poem:

The Well Dressed Man With A Beard

After the final no there comes a yes
And on that yes the future world depends.
No was the night. Yes is this present sun.
If the rejected things, the things denied,
Slid over the western cataract, yet one,
One only, one thing that was firm, even
No greater than a cricket’s horn, no more
Than a thought to be rehearsed all day, a speech
Of the self that must sustain itself on speech,
One thing remaining, infallible, would be
Enough. Ah! douce campagna of that thing!
Ah! douce campagna, honey in the heart,
Green in the body, out of a petty phrase,
Out of a thing believed, a thing affirmed:
The form on the pillow humming while one sleeps,
The aureole above the humming house…

It can never be satisfied, the mind, never.

Wallace StevensThe Well Dressed Man With a Beard first published in: Parts of a World (1942), in Collected Poetry and Prose of Wallace Stevens (Library of America ed.), p. 224.

Want help with the noes and yeses? . . . join me and others . . .

FT5S-Newgrange-celtic-symbolsTRANSFORMATIONAL WRITING CLASS in Madison Wisconsin (beings in October): http://www.julietallardjohnson.com/calendar/35 Transform your maybes into noes or yeses through the use of writing prompts, meditations and “off the page” explorations.

I have room for 4 more in my KEEP IT SIMPLE monthly writers’ circle:  http://www.julietallardjohnson.com/calendar/67 

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