Dec 6, 2009

Evel Knievel Didn't Get a Second Chance

This is my backyard.
I can walk less than 1/4 mile and stand on the canyon rim and see this beautiful view.
I can see parts of it from my living room window.

If I drive 5 miles, I can see this spectacular view from the Perrine Bridge that spans the canyon when entering Twin Falls. The lush green grass you see is a golf course. We've spent many hours there, enjoying a summer evening playing 18 holes.

This is Shoshone Falls.
It is about a mile from our front door and in the spring, when they release the majority of the water, we can, not only hear to roar of the water cascading over the falls, but can feel the mist in the air as the breeze carries it toward us. The evenings here are peaceful and quiet.

But that's not why I'm telling you about it. Something else happened here in the 70's, and for some reason, it bored its way into my head today and I've found myself drawing comparisons to the event, and what I'm feeling about losing my contract with Valor.

* * *

On September 8, 1974, Evel Knievel attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon.

The mound of dirt they used to build his ramp, still exists and is located about 3 miles from our home. For months before the actual attempt, preparations were made. There was a lot of hype involved with sponsoring this jump, mostly because of the anticipated crowds of motor cycle gangs and onlookers. But after a lot of hard work and cooperation from everyone, the day came for the big event.

When the time drew near, Evel was lifted by crane and placed into his "rocket" cycle.

Anticipation grew.

People cheered.

The countdown began.

And then it was time.

Engines were started and the rocket spewed, and finally . . .

Lift off!!

But then something went wrong with the chute. Just as he was leaving the ramp, it flew out the back of the rocket, keeping it from making its journey across the canyon and to the other side.
(If you look closely, you can see it near the flag)

He failed.

As the chute continued to open and Evel and his rocket drifted into the river, onlookers were shocked and disappointed. Rumors began to circulate immediately about how this could have happened. Was it a malfunction, or did Evel chicken out at the last moment and pull the safety latch. Nothing was ever confirmed, but there were a lot of people who traveled many miles, spent thousands of dollars and got nothing in return.

I find myself feeling the same way.
I've built myself up, dreaming of being published, listening to the promises of a huge launch party, national book tour, speaking engagements, book signings, and so much more, and then someone pulled my chute.

I'm sure the same kind of rumors are circulating, who's to blame, was it something she did? Was it a malfunction in the company? The fact is, it doesn't really matter. Time will pass and nobody will remember the reasons why, nobody will even care.
I'm just left with a broken dream and a few great pictures.

No, I'm not feeling sorry for myself, I'm just not sure where to go from here. Yes, I will finish the edits I started with my editor and muddle through. Yes, I will send out those query letters to agents and do whatever I can to find someone else who loves my book as much as I do.

But here's my question.

Evel only got one shot. What if that's all I get? What if that's it? It's rare enough for a writer to get published in the first place, but to find another publisher who wants the same book is nearly impossible.

So, that's where my head is right now. I'm down in the bottom of that river, waiting to be saved, knowing full well that I'll have to swim to the shore and hike out by myself. Maybe I'll get lucky and someone will throw me a rope, eh?


  1. Wow. I hardly know what to say. I don't like the picture you painted of what might come mainly because I'm right down there with you and I want to have hope.

    There IS hope, isn't there? Maybe Evel didn't get another chance to make THAT jump, but surely he had another chance for OTHER death-defying feats?

    We have to have hope and believe, there WILL be a second chance for us.

  2. I've never been where you've been. I've never suffered the kind of heartbreak or disappointment that you have. What I can say is that I believe, with all my heart, that where we as mortals don't "get second chances", God gives them to us. 2nd chances, 3rd, chances, 4th chances--God pours them down on us like cleansing rain. I believe in those chances and I believe God has many in store for you and for your story.

    I believe it and I'll continue to pray for you that soon enough, you'll see the proof of it. In the mean time, hold on, paddle against the current, and prepare to take another leap. I think you'll find a hidden set of wings.

  3. I am so sorry that this happened to you. Try not to give up hope. I am going through much the same thing in my life. This past year, since my husband left and I went through a divorce, I have been struggling. Trying to have faith that I will get a 2nd chance at a happy life. I also wish that I had more time to write. As a full time school teacher and a single Mom, I get frustrated some days.

    Please remember, that you are very talented and have written this great book. Some other publisher will come along. It may not feel like this will happen right now, but I have a good feeling about you and this book. I am so excited to read your book. I will be here to blog about your book and we will podcast about the book with LDS Womens Book Review. I pledge my/our support to you right now.

    Try to be positive and hang in there!

  4. I have to agree with Ali, because while the chance to make that one jump again didn't happen, there were other jumps and amazing feats.

    With trials and disappointments, I have often remembered an article I read in the Ensign, almost 20 years ago. It was an article where a man wrote in about an experience he had with his son, being lost in the mountains. They had prayed at a fork in the road and felt very impressed to take one of the roads. After about 5 minutes of driving, they came to a dead end. When the son asked his father why they would feel impressed to go down a road that dead ends, the father responded something like, "The Lord told us that, so we would know without a doubt which way to go. We could have driven for hours and been doubtful if we had taken the correct road we know exactly which way to go."

    While not the same as your situation, perhaps now you know that Valor wasn't the right path for you to take. Now you will never have to wonder if you should have gone there....because you know.

    Good luck!

  5. Christine--my heart goes out to you. I understand it isn't an easy thing what you are going through and it is as big as life and you are right in the middle of it and you ask yourself, "Will this end?"

    Yes, it will end. The Lord is very mindful of you and just as Teri has mentioned (the Ensign article) that you needed to go down this pathway to know that you have the right stuff to get your book out there . . . Now it's your turn to shine and Heavenly Father WILL open that window.

    You are in my prayers and heart.

  6. What if Evel did pull that shute? What if deep down he knew this wasn't the path for him... what if he listened to the still small voice that said, "not today." I"m sure Evel even argued, "are you kidding me? Do you know how many people are out there right now? I have to do this!" "No, you don't. It's not right."

    So if someone pulled your shute, just know that it wasn't right. If it was, you would still be there.

    And yes, evel didn't get a chance at THAT jump again, but he still went on to have a very successful career. He also broke 36 bones and crashed a gazillion times, in front of thousands of people--it didn't matter. Every time, he got back up, dusted himself off, and did it again. Don't give up--when it's right, your leap will be perfect.

  7. You WILL publish your manuscript. Don't give up hope. There's more than one publisher, right? There's more than one chance.

  8. Christine,

    If your book is good enough for Valor, it will also be good enough for another agent and publisher. Keep going, keep moving forward. The worst possible thing you can do is to give up.

    In my experience, the people who want something the worst are the most consistent about pursuing it. Sometimes it takes many failures and many rejections and many years, but eventually, those who keep going find success.

    I believe in you, and Ali, too. I believe you both have a purpose in this life, and your writing has a purpose in the world. Obviously that purpose was not to be fulfilled with Valor. Now it's time to push through the fog, going forth with faith that everything will work out for the best.

    Love you tons and big, big hugs. Hang in there for a little while longer. Success is closer than you realize.

  9. Christine - You WILL find another publisher. If it was eye-catching enough that one publisher believed in the manuscript - especially one that's starting up and looking for FABULOUS stuff to set them apart from the rest - then there's most DEFINITELY another agent/publisher who is going to read it and snap it right up. You CAN do this! You WILL be published!