A few years ago, I went to an Ash Wednesday service where the layperson giving the homily decided to show us a clip from Harry Potter (yes, I think I loved that church) and talked about how most of us were planning on giving up chocolate or pizza or whatever for Lent. And that maybe we should think about making deeper choices about what we were giving up.
(This really isn't a religious entry, I promise. Yes, I just repeated that on purpose.)
Then, he took the entire homily into left field (as if Harry hadn't already) and started talking about how we all hate to think of dying, and think of it as just an end.
"But we're all dying every day. Dying to things that don't matter to us anymore. Dying so that better things can be born in our lives." But, he said, we cling onto these dying things, not wanting to let go, afraid of what's going to happen, afraid of letting go of these tattered things in our lives that we no longer need (Dumbledore apologized to Harry that he had to see Faulkes on a "dying day", and mentioned that the phoenix had been looking rather pitiful for days). And he challenged us to take this time to look at our lives and let the things that need to die, well, die. And then watch the good that comes from letting go.
And I thought... damn... there's a lot of in my life that I need to let die. A lot of things that have probably grown so tattered over the years that I barely recognize why I'm holding on to them.
A little over a year ago, I let die that little voice in my head that told me "You'll never make it through the slushpiles and you should never try to write a book." I let go up in flames my belief that four years of studying engineering and ten years of practicing it had killed my ability to write anything more than a cadaver lab report or fan fiction. It was hard, but now I have a "The End" under my belt and another "The End" on the way. And I feel like a phoenix every time I read over my MSs and see one of my favorite paragraphs or hear someone laugh over a line that I wrote.
It's time to keep dying.