Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for Hope

“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”  Joseph Addison

Picture from stock.xchnge
When I was brainstorming what to blog about for H, hope came up pretty quickly, but I discarded it.  Hope to me is a passive thing, like a damsel in distress hoping for her prince to come and rescue her.  

I don’t like to be passive in real life.  I like to be active, to have a plan to overcome my problems, and if that plan fails, I go back to the drawing board and come up with a new one.  I am a planner.  I’m always looking ahead, thinking of pitfalls I might run into and having several contingency plans in place just in case.  Yes, I am one of those Type A people (well sort of, I have no organizational skills at all).

But there is always that place where you’ve done everything you can, and all you have left is hope.  I hate that place.  It makes me feel helpless, but those are the times when hope can become a powerful thing.  It becomes the one thing that gives you the courage to keep going and keeps you from drowning in despair.  Hope, belief, and faith, we all need them at some point in our lives.

Right now in my writing I’m in an active stage.  If a beta reader finds a plot hole, I can fix it.  If my world-building is weak, I can add to it.  If my writing doesn’t exactly singing, I can work on it.  I feel that I’m in control of whether my story is good or not, and that gives me this false sense of control that whether I make it or not is up to me.

But there is an element to this writing thing that is beyond my control.  All I can do is put the best stories I can write out there (and maybe shamelessly promote it), but whether my stories appeal to anyone besides me, whether they capture the interest of agents, editors, and/or readers, and whether they can create enough of a buzz to actually sell are factors I can’t control.  

At that point, all I have left is hope.   Hope that my stories will find an audience, hope that they will resonate with readers, hope that they will be read.   And that hope is all I have to keep me going, to keep me writing. 

I just want to say that there are more important things in life than publication and literary success such as raising children, dealing with serious or life threatening health problems, and losing those you love.  There are those very dark times in all of our lives where those more important things are at stake, and when the outcome is outside of our control, hope is even more crucial.  

Hope gets us through these difficult times when we alone are not enough to protect and save our love ones, when we need something beyond ourselves to pull us through.

We all need hope.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”  Martin Luther King Jr.



  1. Tibullus said, "Credulous hope supports our life, and always says tomorrow will be better."

    I hate having to hope things work out, or get better, but like you said, sometimes it's the best we've got.

    Great post.

  2. My husband and I have had several discussions about hope before. I think it's passive and he argues that it's active as well. For example, my husband says, "in the bottom of the last inning when the home team is one run behind, there's a man on base and two outs, and the homerun hitter comes up to bat--he's the team's 'last hope.'" It's an active hope.

    I'm not sure I agree with my husband (it seems like word play to me), but I spend a lot of time thinking about the analogy.

    1. Interesting analogy. I can see where your husband is coming from. Maybe the guy up to bat has active hope, but his team sitting in the dugout have passive hope. If that makes any sense at all. Maybe not.

      Definitely something to think about. :)

  3. Great quotes :)

    New follower.....http://demitrialunetta.blogspot.com/

  4. Hope is a strangling thing for me in real life, but an essential thing in writing. When I read slush or any kind of story that has no hope, I think ive wasted that reading time. My favorote example of hope used actively in a story is in the wool omnibus by Hugh howley. In that story, hope leads to blood everytime. Brilliant.
    You too Maryann.

    1. I need to read Wool Omnibus. I agree that even the most darkest story needs a hint of hope. Great point.

  5. I've always thought of hope as a double-edged sword - that's why it was the last "evil" in Pandora's jar - but lately I feel how much I depend on it, pitfalls and all. It seems to me that every act of living - from brushing your teeth in the morning to rescuing someone from a burning building - is ultimately an act of hope.

    1. I think you are right Sarah. There is an element of hope in everything we do, whether we realize it or not. Without hope we probably wouldn't even get out of bed.


Got an opinion? Use it! Remember... be silly, be honest, and be nice/proofread.