Help!

May 26, 2008 at 2:08 pm 24 comments

You’ve heard it before. So have I! The saying: If you don’t want to hear the truth, don’t ask for it!

But I made the fatal mistake of asking for it, begging for it, over the weekend and have yet to ‘maGegem’ from the hard kick on the butt “the truth” (in the “chimBil” of a caring friend) gave me.

This is how it happened:

After twitching over it for about two weeks, losing sleep & an appetite, I finally decided to give my first novel-wanna-bee to my published friend. “Read it”, says I, “and tell me what you think. Ain’t thinking of having it published or anything yet, i just gotta get it out of my hand because the sight of it is driving me bonkers”. I said all this casual like! You know, in a very “devil-may-care” way. Only God and I knew how hard i’ve been working on it for the last 2 years. So hard, infact, my eyes can barley see a writing from across the room because of it. I! A patient an Orthodentist told only about a year ago that her sight was better than anybody he knows, even himself!!

Three days later, my friend was still on page 33. I demanded he return it! He madly did! But not before scratching all types of comments on the side. Comments that shocked the sister to the core at first (so much she needed to give another friend a call and get herself the biggest cheese burger on the menu to heal the wounded pride) but later made it clear that her published friend may not be as good a critique as reader, or atleast at perceiving women writer-wanna-bees and their intentions. Which, ofcourse, maybe wishful thinking on my side.

Yet, I’m more nervous to take my first novel-wanna-bee to the publishers than ever!! I feel if I submit it and it got rejected, no amount of “Tsadik sebate yewedqal, sebate yinesal” would bring comfort to the abesheet heart. No use counting how many times Abe Lincoln run for office and lost. Or googling and posting the story of the book that got rejected 15 times before being short-listed for a booker prize. I’ll resign myself to being a wife and a mother and start studying the ovulating calendar, instead of all the crap I’ve been studying for 5 years now in my pursuit to make a bit of difference, put a little bright light, to Ethiopian literature etcetra etcetra. Some of you may say, “not too shaby! Motherhood is, after all, a ‘tsega’ every woman should crave for!”. Problem is this sister ain’t one of those women. The day she decided to become a mother is the day she decided to give up on her dreams, and made up her mind to bury herself alive! Or so she fears.

And YES, she can be a drama queen! 🙂

So.. esti.. annd belugn!

Till then.. I’ll keep myself busy with trying to beat my little bro in Scrabbles.

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Entry filed under: Latest Posts. Tags: .

A Eulogy for “Sholan Geremew” Motherhood, the truth (or my truth)?

24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. abyssinia  |  May 26, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    For a new author, trying to publish a book can be rather intimidating.

    abesheet, libishin sefaaaa adirgesh rejection and/or criticism mekebel mechal alebish. I’m sure every writer went through one-two-three rejections before publishing. silezih kemegemiryaw tesfa atiqurechi.

    Look forward to reading your book…

    Ayzon!

  • 2. Totit  |  May 26, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    In one of my Literature class, I remember the instructor saying, When u give ur book to be reviewed by a friend, and u r saying, “tell me ur honest opinion”, U r actually not looking for their honest opinion, but for support, U want them to tell u “ur book is great, it is gonna make a best seller”…u r really not wanting any type of constructive/or unconstructive criticism for that matter, at that time…really…leave the criticism to the publisher…And I remember the professors expression…it was a face of someone that has been deeply hurt…It left a mark in me…That sounded so absurd at the time, I still remember it after so many years…So Abesheet, what exactly were u looking for when u gave that book to ur friend…And why do u need ur friends opinion?…Why cant u get all the criticism u need from the publisher directly?…I don’t know left from right when it comes to book writing…And I don’t even know the steps that u need to take…but I know everything is relative…and we need to believe in ourselves…We need to believe in our work…After all, we are the only one that knows how much blood and sweat is involved in it …And if we have complete faith…they say, the universe will conspire to make it happen…And I am a strong believer…I know this post is much deeper than what it seems…I can feel it to my bone…Just take it one day at a time…go submit…tomorrow will take care of itself…Just do what u have to do today right…and keep believing…

  • 3. RasX  |  May 27, 2008 at 5:52 am

    To me, growth is more important than success. Success can be measured by outward materialistic crap. Growth hurts at first. Until you get used to it. It becomes second nature. You know the cliche’. I only bring this up because I could feel growth in myself. Also I’m trying to embrace it. Reading your post reminds me of some things I am going through. Of course yours is a totally different scale. I look forward to your many wonderful blogs. I look forward to see how you will grow from here. I guess I am trying to say that the imagination of a child with a dream is something that helps us grow. Can hardly be measured.

  • 4. abesheet  |  May 27, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Abby, Totitye and Ras darling…

    You are all so right. Especially totit. You seem to really know what i’m going through right now. So thank you so much. This friend I gave the book to, i know him to be a good reader but i didn’t even think he was such a great writer. Now, i think he’s a really bad reader too. But, like i said, it maybe only a wishful thinking on my part. And yes!! I was expecting firework, not chicken scratches on my manuscript coz i was pretty impressed with it myself (and i don’t get impressed easily) inspite of all it’s point of view problems i couldn’t fix work however hard i might. Anywho.. amma taking it to the publishers!. Yes sir I am! Thanks to you guys!! One has told me it would take them 8 weeks to finish reading and reviewing it. Insh allah, I’ll have an acceptance or rejection before 2001 E.C.

    BTW, does anybody know what happened to “sistu” lately?

  • 5. Totit  |  May 27, 2008 at 7:11 am

    I have a stupid question Abesheet…why are u going to an orthodentist for ur sight though…or am i missing the entire satire? I think I am…and If that line is intentional…I mean…It is hilarious Ekoooo…:)

  • 6. abesheet  |  May 27, 2008 at 7:35 am

    Lol Totit. I get scared when anything goes near my eyes. That’s why I talked about the orthodentist, that i don’t have, saying my eye sight was better than his. Maybe not as funny as i thought it was at first :-).

  • 7. Totit  |  May 27, 2008 at 7:56 am

    No No Nooooo…..It is Hilarious……I just did not get it at first…but i had an epiphany while typing the question…:) And It realllly cracked me up…I have always appreciated ur sarcasm, ur strong convictions…Ur analogies, ur eulogies…ur questioning mind, ur gut to say the unthinkable…U r a true renaissance woman…everything…really…And I have no doubt Ur book will be a success ekoo…And believe u me, I dont impress easy either…:) Until the publisher gives u the great news, Please keep us entertained…

  • 8. abesheet  |  May 27, 2008 at 10:06 am

    *too busy blushing to answer*

  • 9. abyssinia  |  May 27, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Think about it this way! You are going to get good and bad comments whether or not your book is the best written book. In fact, the very few derogatory comments you may get are usually from a person who has never written a book and the good ones are often from authors and from the readers.

    So I say, if you are confident that your book is good and ready to be published, GO FOR IT! Nothing is going to happen to you as an author until your book is published coz until then you are just another wanna-bee author. And that’s not what you want and that’s not what we want…really!

    btw, sistu yetefachibet guday altawekem…

  • 10. abesheet  |  May 27, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    So true abby konjo! “He who hasn’t failed hasn’t tried anything” and what not :)!! Can’t wait until Thursday morning to go to take it to the publishers. I just hope my strength won’t fail me by then. Still feel the flutter when i think about it. What Tracey Chapman (or was it) would call “col-col-cold feet”!

    BTW, did you know almost all the building around Olympia is being painted white?! I was like, “that’s odd” until i realized it was Ginbot 20 tomorrow. Even that didn’t help, coz the way i see it we didn’t have much to celebrate about. Famine, war, inflation; that’s what we seem to have on our hands. Not the people on ETV, though!! They are all excited and agog, as Bertie Wooster would say. It could be one of two things, I reasoned to my husband earlier, they either didn’t expect to make it this far or there is something about the number 17 that makes them feel giddy (Maybe because MenGe was planning his escape this time 17 years ago and MeLe clearly isn’t :-))! This being the 1st Ginbot 20 of the millennium just doesn’t cut it with me. I need less inflation in the economy, enough food for the starving kids and see our soldiers out of Somalia ASAP. And more importantly, the immediate danger of the car bombing to stop!! A girl needs to visit friends and families on national holidays without the need to fear for her neck.

    Esti.. beselam yawlen!!

    Do you think it’s a good idea to write and ask sistu if she’s ok?! I miss her so much!!

  • 11. Dr. Ethiopia  |  May 27, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Abo Abesheet Lemin did you give your book to your friend? ne BeBekule, i think that was your first mistake.

    Friends don’t have an honest opinion, Psychology class or some book taught me that.

    See, When you gave him the book, he had already decided one thing or another, as a friend, i.e.

    That’s why it would have been much better to give your book to a total stranger and tell him you enjoyed reading this book, as opposed to i wrote it and this is my plan and what do you think of it?

    I think it is the approach that forces the person to read the book not as a raeder but rather as a critique.

    But, min awkalew bilesh new.

    Lemanignaum, anchi zim bilesh chek-chiki. BeSemonun inde Harry Potter yalfilishina Legnam Tibekiyalesh.

    Ine gin ahun biyalfilish new mimertew. Mikniyatum wetat negn ina. Karejew buhala ma birish lelijoche new mibejew

    LOL

  • 12. abyssinia  |  May 27, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    This may be a silly question but is your book written in English or Amarigna? My biggest confession today is that I have never read Amarigna book in my entire life…I’m talking about novel ofcourse.

    btw, I grow up around Olympia…went to Meserte Kiristos school. I have known that area as Israel Garage or Olympia. Now it is Denbel, Purple, Le Parisien etc. I guess it’s going to be Neche foQ in the future.

    Any idea why they chose Olympia? I really don’t see the point of painting Olympia buildings white to celebrate Ginbot 20.

    And I agree with you 110%, they should pay attention to the famine. Who give a shit to Ginbot 20 when people have nothing to feed their children, when we have an estimates of 6 million children at risk of starvation, for peace sake.

    what about the inflation, ongoing war in Somalia, the car bombing in our city…Ere teyingn!

    Yeah, esti email sistu and see what’s up with her.

  • 13. sira salata  |  May 27, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Well, It may be difficult to judge…with out seeing the stuff!!! However, I would think that u selected the man to hiss ur writings coz u cosidered him efficient for that!!! If that is the case, I would say u shall accept his comments. But, if eventually you find his comments under ur estimation, I would also ask why is that really? Coz sometimes I have a feeling when I ask comments to freinds, and they give negative things of it, hah I say ” they are talking rubbish things and that were really simple for me to do it” . But, if they give me +ve responses, I would say ”yah bravo…they are nice”. So for me it is a kind of expecting what I want to hear, However in no case that shall be a real hiss. Coming to ur case, I would say three things,
    1. If u really think the man was not as u expected, that is going to be also ur mistake….as a writer, u shall Identify to whoom u shall give ur work for a hiss. I would recommend to give ur book to some other person and compare……..But Abe, I understand that freinds might not be critical in judging ur works……But it might be good, if u consider the man’s comments by rechecking it with other person(s)
    2. It doesn’t mean that, since the guy says some -ve things, u shall stop…WHY? WHY? He just give what he feels….he is just somebody, he can have his particular stand on it . If u want to consider it, it is okay….If not, just drop his comments and move on. Abe, u were working on the matter for two years…..hah How can u be shocked, then, with a comment made on reading the book say, for months??? Normally the right comment u could find is not the response of ur freinds, the publishers or any body…It is from the public, after published,…… that time you will really know to what level you did it. So I would say move on girl…….take the step that is in ur heart now!!!
    3. Will love to read it, when published….and would like to have my perspectives on it.

    Keep UP and move ON!!!!!

  • 14. atim  |  May 28, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    First of all, I do not agree with the following:

    “The day she decided to become a mother is the day she decided to give up on her dreams, and made up her mind to bury herself alive! Or so she fears.”

    Esti read this first and then we discuss:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1021293/Alice-Walker-feminist-icon-wrote-The-Color-Purple-Here-daughter-reveals-fanatical-views-motherhood-tore-apart-.html

    True if not well planned motherhood can be an obstacle to realize one’s dreams. But the article above has some positive things to say about motherhood. One can be a mother and still a successful writer! Nothing is impossible. It is all in one’s mind. As humans, we always tend to find an excuse for our failure. And failure is not a bad thing. Without failure no one can taste the sweetness of life’s nectar.

    We fail, we rise! That is what makes us humans.

    Good luck 🙂

  • 15. abesheet  |  May 29, 2008 at 6:52 am

    First, I have a confession to make… to abby.

    Apparently they aren’t painting the buildings around Olympia for Ginbot 20. Coz it was still under way when I passed by it yesterday evening. So.. I guess I jumped the gun (if jumping the gun is the word I want).

    Dr. Ethiopia:
    You were right! I should have given the draft to somebody who doesn’t know me or shouldn’t have begged for an honest opinion. But like totit said, I will give it to the professionals and see what happens.

    Sira Salata:
    I see what you mean. And you are right! There were things I liked about his comments that were right. However, his biggest hurtful comment was misunderstanding what the book was all about. The book more or less deals with how society (fairy tales, books, etc) form our opinion on life and how confusing that becomes when you try to “meteGber” it in real life. I have then made mention of, in a salute sort of way, characters from classic ethiopian fictions, relating their lives to my character. He SO misunderstood the theme that he asked me why i mentioned “seble” and “tigist” from FEMeQabir and SeMemen respectively. It was actually what you might call a “clever touch”, a most natural clever touch. That’s when i realized either my friend is a bad reader or has already wired himself up as a critique before he came to read the book and may have taken the job a little too far :-).

    Atim:
    Thank you for your comment. I have reservations regarding that paragraph (reeks of the kind “co dependent” relationship that mothers cherish simply because they have nothing else to live for and no one else to love and need them). Still, the woman I was referring to in my protestation you quoted above is myself. I was talking about my worries, very dramatically ofcourse, of what would happen if I gave up on being a writer and decided to become a mother. For more info, check out my next post!

  • 16. sistu  |  May 30, 2008 at 12:08 am

    abet abet, abesheet alehulish; and likegnilish while i am at it (or at least kignit lisrekilish):

    indet likurabet be[setinete]
    abet iyalkugn leEmebete
    yeblog nigist yeblog [geta]
    ine lole negn isua bilata
    keretagn blogish min adergalehu
    alalelignim ichilewalehu
    siteragn abet new sitilikegn wedet.
    tetaru etege abet bel ashker
    wedeh begebah atikeraker
    wedo legeba etege bett
    addis adelem abet malett….

    so there. abet biyalehu. as you may well suspect, lemenafek new yetefahut. that and a little bit of other menzelazel-ing i was engaged in for the last week kept me busy. abesheet, i trust you will receive an update abt that through another sister. i have been giving myself an update on ur blog and ayna-waj honebign where to start talking until i settled here. so now first thing is first, why aren’t you lot asking the obvious question? inen kifu lemasbal new adel? yihun gidyelem. abesheet, can we read? kinchibchabem beehon? mostly to get it for free gin also to see what we have. [if it helps, zadie gave pieces of her novel away before she published them] if you wish, i can tell u that i would love to be your first paying customer. it would be a true honor… bayhon we can talk abt a refund if i am disappointed. (be warned: the only other thing i like more than your writing is money… so if i ask for my money back, it may not have to do with your writing. but i am really serious about being the first to buy it. beebeza i might publish it as my own).

    second thing: i agree with the tota (who, btw, i find to be one motmata tota… im loving you totit, keep memotamot-ing..it is v becoming on a tota) why not try a publisher?

    sostegna: intina….the friend. indet new… should his/her opinion be dismissed completely? i am saying this mostly because i read s/he did not move past page 30 (ihe kerfafa, btw). but u know i often read really good books that do not have a good beginning. i would never have known it indajemameru beehon noro. so maybe you should give him/her a chance to finish it?

    arategna: should i just keep my opinions to myself? it seems like almost all in here seem to know what they are talking abt when it comes to literature, what with the literature classes and all. ina afen yiZE bikemetis yamribign yihon on this subject seeing as the only thing i know about literature is “mechet”… (what a glorious day it was when i finally discovered that it stood for “meche, yet”… if only we had been as economical with our other words)

  • 17. abyssinia  |  May 30, 2008 at 1:19 am

    sistuuuu, OMG bedehna new?

    minew lije sew yasibal atyim as my mom would say…endih tifit malt-tey-alalkum

    Anyways, glad your back and yes you’ve been missed if that’s what this is all about…:)

  • 18. abesheet  |  May 30, 2008 at 5:57 am

    Sistuye konjo,

    You are a joy to read, as always. Welcome back. You’ve been really missed.

    Yeah… well.. fortunately or unfortunately, i already submitted the stuff to the biggest publisher in Ethy. Thought, and told them as much, if you gotta be rejected, better be rejected by those who matter and can actually give a real professional opinion. They’ve told me it would take em 8 weeks to read and review. And wished me good luck. Not before I asked, however, if they could send me the rejection letter through e-mail. That made the girl laugh so hard she could have wept if she wasn’t in a strictly professional environment. I thought it was a good sign they gave it to a girl. Because it’s a girl’s book (or book wannabee). What a joy her job must be, though. Reading books for a living!!

    BTW, LOL on the “meChet” thing. There is another tricky word “AleBawiyan” (meaning Fundamentals) which a friend of mine confessed to thinking meant “folks at Alaba”. Thought that was hillarious!

  • 19. Totit  |  May 30, 2008 at 6:04 am

    Hey Sistu…So U can tell I am moTmwaTa…I was trying hard to keep that part of me in check eKo..but, but somehow the true personality, shone…through some ChelanChel ayedel…:)
    And don’t be fooled by the fact that I threw the word literature in there…I am a hard core scientist…and all the nine yards…It is just They force me to take some literature classes…If it was up to me I would have stayed away…so I have no idea what I am talking about…when people start throwing names…meGebiya meweCHaw newe yemiTefabegne…
    However, when it come to The friend, I think he might have taken his job too seriously, and he might have picked up his red pen before he opened the book…if u tell me to criticize, the pages will have so much Red in it, I can make the Lukwanda Bet turn green with jealousy…Isn’t that what they teach us in school…Maybe he did not read the book, as just a book that u might read and enjoy…He was a man with purpose…Maybe that is why it was taking him that much time…Anyways, Speculations, Speculations…:)

  • 20. KNIGHT  |  June 8, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Hold up! . first i thought Totit and abeseet was the same person…. and secondly, i’m new to this site and i don’t quiet know how it operates, do we have one big blogger and the rest of us just participate by replying or can we all say a little something, something of our own…? and oh yeah. don’t worry about your friend, he or she just hatin’….

  • 21. abesheet  |  June 9, 2008 at 5:25 am

    Believe it or not, Knightye (thank you so much for visiting, by the way ;)) the totit of the comments isn’t the totit of habeshafriends.com. I thought it was some sort of a ploy at first, but realized the only thing she had up her sleeve were a bunch of “tikus” bananas.

    About the blog: posting something of your own is MORE THAN WELCOME. I’ll give you a contributor status and any time you have something to share, all you gotta do is hit the “Publish” button.

    Looking forward.

  • 22. Inem  |  December 12, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    What do the publishers say? Are you published already? Where can one get it?

  • 23. abesheet  |  December 12, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Lol. Ammafraid not, Inem. They thanked me for submitting it but said it wasn’t the kind of work they can publish right then.

    Go to From Loserville with love to read more.

  • 24. Kenyatta Dabe  |  November 18, 2012 at 4:12 am

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

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