A quick stopover to an article about them in greekmythology.com reminds us that the The Fates are three sisters who determine the course of our lives. Clotho spins the thread of our life, Lacheis measures it to determine how long we live, and Atopos cuts the thread to determine when we die. Supposedly, they are ugly old women, stern and severe.
Well, if Anne Lamott says that we can visualize God any way we choose (she chooses to see him as a lovable, flawed, kind of clumsy guy, sort of like David Byrne in a big suit), I can see the fates as different than that. And I choose to think of my fates as folks who do more than just determine how long my life will be.
When I get down on my knees (and yes, there have been some tough times where I have gotten down on my knees), I see the fates as incredibly good looking fashion plates, kind and approachable. At the same time, they don’t like to be bossed around (they’re busy, after all), so it’s best to talk to them kindly. I always do.
In my mind, the fates are doing more than just spinning thread, measuring, and cutting it. They’re weaving a tapestry, which spans the length of my life.
In my life, in this tapestry, there is a finite amount of black thread and gold thread. The black thread is misfortune, and the gold thread is a good turn of events. I have no idea how much black and gold thread that these women have to play around with, but I know that when I breathe my last breath, they will have woven all these threads into my tapestry.
Though I don’t know whether I have an imbalance between the black and gold thread, my mind, for some reason, keeps suspecting that I started my life with an equal amount of each of them. There have been times that my tapestry has been dark, and there have been times that my tapestry has had quite a bit of gold.
It’s for this reason, when I’m going through bad times, that I like to think that maybe, as bad as they are, that my fates are laying on the black thread because they know I can take it. This is also the reason that I appreciate good times, but accept the fact that they won’t last; I don’t want to use up all my gold thread at once.
In any event, without getting personal, the last two and a half years have involved, in my tapestry, well, a whole lot of black thread. There have been many things that have happened that have been unpleasant. I will not go into them here, but suffice to say: it’s been a dark, dark part of my tapestry.
At the same time, though, there have been these bright, vivid patches of gold. Megan came into my life. Joe, the husband of her life long friend Laurie (and himself another lifelong friend of Megan) has, in a short time, become like family to me, as has Laurie. Another person, Yvonne, became a surrogate sister to me (and I a surrogate brother to her) after a recent section of her tapestry was so tightly woven with black thread that threatened to swallow all visible light; I can only hope that my presence has added some gold thread to a dark, dark bolt of fabric.
There are, in other words, moments, thanks to the presence of these wonderful people, in which The Fates have definitely said “let’s weave a little gold into this guy’s tapestry…he could use it.”
With that said, and with complete appreciation for these ladies weaving this into my tapestry…there has also been a lot, and I mean a whole lot, of dark, dark thread.
This is why now, at this point, I have been asking the Fates a favor. I always find myself, when I do this, talking in a way that I’m sure is not the way most people pray. I do not say things like “oh, holy Father,” or “oh, steadfast and omnipotent (insert god’s name here.” No, instead, I say things like “ladies…I’ve really tried to be a decent person here, and I would honestly appreciate you reaching for some gold thread.”
“See,” I say, “the thing is, I’ve been writing for a long, long time, and only recently have submitted my writing to publishers. Very difficult thing, by the way: publishers want you to have an agent, and agents want you to be published. Nonetheless, I found a publisher who actually takes unsolicited (as in: without an agent) manuscripts.”
I go on.
“I sent one brief manuscript after another, for I write children’s picture book stories. Then, last week, they told me that they couldn’t really evaluate them until they saw all of them.”
I keep going.
“Now, this could very well mean that they were just weary of my sending them these brief stories, one after another, and that they just want me to send them all so that they can just pile them together and gracefully reject me so that I’ll just leave them alone.”
I pause, for I am now about to praise myself slightly, and I don’t wish to appear arrogant.
“There is, however, and I don’t wish to jinx this, another possibility: they like what they’ve read, and they want to see everything.”
I like to imagine that they’re looking at me at this point, and smiling kindly.
“I’m a serial fatalist, so of course, I lean heavily toward the ‘they’re just looking to let you down easy’ spectrum. Yet I can’t get this other notion out of my mind. There is that possibility, however, remote, that a publisher genuinely likes my writing.”
And now, I get to the heart of matter with these fine women:
“Ladies…I really, really don’t want to make a pest of myself, really. I am just saying that I’m a nice person, or at least people tell me I am, and they don’t seem to be lying when they say this. I also admit that I take my tapestry however you choose to weave it.”
I imagine at this point, that they are still smiling, and that one of them laughs and says “…and?”
“But ladies…you’ve…you’ve woven a lot of black thread in there, okay? A lot. Yes, I know, I know…Megan, Joe and Laurie, they’re, like, a brilliant shiny part of that tapestry. But it’s been a rough time, really rough. This whole publisher thing…if you could, you know, weave some gold in there, that would be, you know, ducky. Just ducky.”
Perhaps they will, perhaps they won’t.
I just thought it couldn’t hurt to ask.