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Swimming with Sharks

Quite some time ago on a message board while in the midst of a conversation about kicking a story out into the big, bad world of publishing, I coined a phrase. I conjured up the most terrifying image I could for doing something that makes me somewhat queasy, even still. The image I created, the phrase I coined is something that still makes my stomach lurch, yet still fascinates me. Instead of sending my story out, I would drop kick it “into the shark tank.” Thinking about a big pool filled with hungry predators looking to take a huge bite out of something, namely, my work, just terrified me. The image justified the cold sweat that always breaks out as soon as I hit the “submit” button and watch my words flutter away on the digital breeze.

The more I think about this horrifying image, these intimidating, ancient creatures prowling the waters and opening their jaws with their sharp teeth to take even a curious, exploratory bite from me or my work, the more it lures me. The more I fear it, the more I’m attracted to it. I’m terrified of sharks, and yet, I watch Shark Week compulsively on The Discovery Channel. The shark tank. The big beasts in their natural habitat. Slipping into the wet folds of the nightmare and sliding into the Big Drink amidst these graceful, imposing creatures is both awe-inspiring and paralyzing. Something like the way I feel when I’m sending out a story to a big publisher.

I’m on the verge of some big changes right now. I am in the thick of diving back into a degree program to finish what I started many years ago. Jumping into the world of distance education while working a hectic full time (an then some) job and still trying to write is going to be…challenging, but a worthy struggle. It’s going to be an epic event, I know, and one that will require some kind of celebratory move. An epic celebration. It’s going to mark a new chapter in my life, and time to conquer something else that intimidates me.

And what better, than actually jumping into the drink with the frightening beasts that make my blood crystallize into ice?

That’s right. When I’m done with school, I’m going shark diving off Guadalupe Island. In a cage, mind you. It may not be much protection when you’re looking at a beast that could easily use said cage for toothpicks if properly provoked, but skin-diving is not my idea of a good time. I’ve made the decision that I’m going to jump into the shark tank for real, and I can’t wait. I’ve already done some research and I have a rough idea of what the cost is going to be. As soon as I have an idea of how work, school and the writing gig will balance over the next couple of semesters, I’ll be able to figure out when it’s going to happen, and I’ll update with a target date.

As scared as I am of them, I’m really looking forward to jumping in the water with them and seeing them up close. This is going to happen and I can’t wait!

Categories: Life in General
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