Sunday, April 09, 2006

evaluation

Recently, a good friend of mine announced that his book was going to be made into a Dreamworks movie. I'm thrilled for him and I foresee great things--blockbuster, Oscars, NY Times bestseller etc.

But, the thing about your friends' triumphs is that it always makes you evaluate your own. Experience and cancer battles have matured me to the point where I do not begrudge another's accomplishments (and, heck, if they're going to make a movie from someone's book I'm glad it's one of my friends--someone talented and goodhearted), but nothing has made me immune to desiring my own success.

However, how does one define success? Do you measure it by your income, your book sales? The compliments of your publisher and peers? Your personal contentment and enjoyment? The approval of readers and fans?

Perhaps it is all of the above, or perhaps it is none. For me, I have slowly come to realize that there is no definite answer and that waiting for the bell to ring to tell me I am a success is never going to happen. That "making it" is such a nebulous thing that it is a fruitless goal to strive for.

Instead, it is in the small miracles which I search for satisfaction. Just as cancer makes one suddenly appreciate simple things like hair cuts or hunger; I am finding fulfillment in a drawn picture sent by the precocious Zoe and this forwarded e-mail from a teacher:

"By the way, I left the donated Grace Lin novel, Year of the Dog on the Display table. You've GOT to read it. I gave my daughter a copy as part of her CNY gift last night with her Hong Bao and we're on Chapter 8, already. It's really funny. I can see that my daughter totally relates to it from the perspective of being Asian in a very white community and as far as knowing the Chinese customs & traditions that are being discussed in the book and being able to catch the humor of various situations. She loves it. She said she can't wait to read the next chapter but doesn't want the book to end. I feel the same. Grace Lin is every Chinese Girls hero! She's mine, that's for sure. I love everything about her and this new book makes me want to just reach out and hug her for writing it. It speaks to "my daughter" in a language that she understands as a Chinese-American girl growing up in a white society. Read it."


While these things don't dazzle the way a major motion picture does, they do shine. And it's enough light for me to know where I am going.

7 Comments:

Blogger Dan Santat said...

You're doing great Grace and, yes, Jarrett's big news is pretty awe inspiring.

6:52 AM  
Blogger R said...

Well, we sure think you've done an awesome job and are so proud of all your accomplishments!
R&L

6:33 AM  
Blogger Karma David said...

Success is defined by how many presents you give to your relatives. We look forward to your working hard toward being successful! ;)

5:47 AM  
Blogger picture book studios said...

Dear Grace,
If you're doing what you love and still love doing it then you've achieved more success than the majority of the population will ever experience.
Your work is marvelous!

4:34 PM  
Blogger Linnea said...

My kids love your book. They are adopted from China, and do not even have the advantage of Chinese parents, just a pale mom with a long nose and round eyes. They LOVE your book. Thanks so much for writing it!!!!

Linnea Priest, mama to the A team

12:43 PM  
Blogger Irene said...

Hi! I'm a friend of Ranida's. I love your blog! You write so well, no wonder you're a published writer. :) When I first started reading your books (Ranida gave us Dim Sum for Everyone when we had our now 7-month-old daughter), reading your blog, and checking out your web site, I kept thinking, "Wow, this Grace Lin is SO successful!! I can't believe Ranida knows such an accomplished person!!" I mean, you know you made it when you're on the Today show. ;) Plus all that you did for the Robert's Snow fundraiser. You are amazing. You should never doubt your achievements. From what I see - albeit as an outsider who "knows" you only through online exposure - you seem to be a big "success" in all definitions of the word.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Grace Lin said...

Thanks all for you kind comments and support, I really appreciate it! I'm truly honored to have been a part of your lives in one shape or another...and that is more important than any kind of "success."

9:02 PM  

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