Dave Clarke believed in people. A rare trait.

He worked in the British film and photography industries for nearly 40 years (would’ve been, in 2013). He was absolutely the loveliest chap you could ever hope to meet, always smiling, always ready with another classic story from his work experiences, and always, always had something positive to say. He was a camera and lighting instructor at University College Falmouth after many years at the BBC, and he was such a delight to listen to. Whenever I’d wander into the canteen he’d beckon me over to have a chat, and many times when I doubted myself (as a perfectionist mature student with OCD tendencies does quite often!) he could read it on my face. His comment was always, “One day you’re going to wake up and realise you’re as great as everyone else says you are.” What a guy. I didn’t know him personally very well, but we kept in touch after graduation a few times and it was great to see him still encouraging other students, though I believe he retired from teaching since I graduated.

Last week, he passed away. The wonder of the internet let me know this on Friday, and the comments from so many former co-workers and students alike on this shock reflect a picture of a man who touched everyone he met with kindness, intelligence, and humour. He made me feel special, but he made everyone feel that way.

While we talked about personal stuff as well as course work and industry stuff, he never brought negativity to the conversation. I’m sure he had his share of struggles, but to my outside perspective, it was as though his mission in life was to cheer other people up, and not just superficially, but to help them learn, and to make them see their strengths.

I’m very sad to hear of his loss, but I’m so grateful to have been honoured with knowing him for a short period of time.

Last week wasn’t great for a variety of reasons. I didn’t get far with my writing goals, got a spread of bad news ranging from unfortunate to downright awful, but I think about Dave and am really encouraged, despite the sad news. I don’t want a drop of Dave’s belief in me – no matter how insignificant I was to his world of knowing so many people (all richer for it) – to be wasted.

– – –

On to my July writing goals…

1. Finish new round of edits to MS #1.  Done.
2. MS #1 x5. Done. In fact, I sent more than 5, mainly because 2 were rejected nearly immediately. Fastest rejections in the world! Which added to my not-great-week… but see #6.
3. Finish edits to WIP to Chapter 9. This week!
4. Write 10k in WIP. Next week! (Okay, so I said that last week, but life happened.)
5. Balance job hunting with writing, CP/Beta work, and blogging. Be realistic! Moving along. 

Thanks to Authoress Anon’s Crit Partner “Dating Service” last week, I’ve got an inbox full of friendly and interesting people to reply to about work exchange. So far I’ve connected with two. I’m trying to be careful not to over-commit because I don’t want to let someone else down by being slow – but I am slow right now. It’s just a fact of life. I’m so excited and grateful to have two more potential betas/CPs! WOOHOO!! 🙂 Stuff to read and more people to bounce ideas around with!! I am SO needing this right now. Grateful to Authoress for running this great “service” as well 🙂

In the “last week I learned” category:

Sometimes you have to take that first chapter that you’ve written and re-written, trashed, re-written again, and just frickin’ start over. Maybe not all over, but I opened two windows in Scrivener, with my first chapter in the top. In the bottom, the dreaded white screen. I rearranged it into a more sensible order for a better flow. I killed several few darlings (which should never have been darlings) and generally tightened, and holy cow, did I feel BETTER. A lot of the phrasing was awkward but had been there, unchanged, for so long, my eyes just glazed over it every time I read through. Ever happen to you? I’d tweak around these phrases, but left them as they were for some stupid reason. I feel like I’ve seen the light!

As for the job stuff, mentioned in item #5: I had a friend in HR look over my CV and cover letter and job spec for a job I recently got the old standard form rejection from. This is my second attempt to interview at this company, whose ethos I really believe in. My friend affirmed what I thought about my application: that I’d obviously spent a long time tailoring it very closely, and it clearly matched all their requirements. She even went so far as to say it’s one of the impressive CVs she’s seen, which is certainly saying something! (Whether she was just being nice… 😉 But she did point out that I’ve had a few gaps in my work experience, and this has been due to taking time off to prepare to move from the U.S.A. to the UK, and then time in the UK when I wasn’t legally able to work, and then time at university when I didn’t want to do anything but focus on my studies.

So to that end, I’m going to make more of an effort to explain gaps in my cover letters, but also take her suggestion to contact companies in advance to ascertain whether I’m suitable to apply for the role with the dim hope they’ll remember me when my application comes through. How I do this may be tricky, but I want to give the impression that I am confident about my skills, because I am. I’m even more confident about my dedication and ability to learn on the job. I just keep praying that one of these days, a company I admire will give me the chance to see that, rather than shoot off a reply they’re sending to 300 others.

One of these days, right?

Until next time, good luck with your own weekly goals, writing, work, personal, or otherwise! 🙂 And if you know someone who injects your day with some sunlight, like Dave did for everyone else, give them a big hug or a high-five and tell them so. <3

The zinnia that believes it can, and will. The windy, cold & wet British summer this year has nearly destroyed it and yet flowers keeps trying to grow despite it. I want to be that flower! Persistent despite the ludicrous odds!

Special shout-out to Jamie Dement for listening to me vent and giving me very encouraging words 🙂 Thank you!


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