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Like a Junkyard Dawg!

posted May 9, 2016, 7:44 PM by Jared Agard
A while back, I was teaching a class about music. I had built a recording studio in my classroom to give students a chance to share their musical abilities or to improve upon their lack of natural talent :). The students were nervous, far too nervous to go record something, or, in most cases, even put pen to paper to write their own songs. Not much a a musician myself, I set out show them how to be fearless about their songwriting by creating the only kind of song I felt capable of creating: A rap song. 
Yup, I got funky fresh with my lyrics. I dropped a dope beat and spit rhymes, yo. 
Okay, so I don't really aspire to be all that gangsta, but the lyrics I wrote, mostly kind of goofy, ended up helping me recently as i faced the inevitable issues that come along with being a writer. I'll post my YouTube video of the song for your listening enjoyment:

So, it worked. My students heard this, immediately cracked up, asked me questions like "How could you play that to us without wanting to jump off a bridge during and afterwards?" I told them its because I was jumping' da fence of insecurity, like a junkyard dawg.

Funny thing is, I recorded this song around four years ago and I still have students ask me to play it. New students hear about it from old students. Some just see that I have a YouTube channel and wonder what their weird art teacher is up to on there. Let's just say that, when life gets challenging, I've had many students tell me that they're gonna jump dat fence like a junkyard dawg.

In March, I had my own experience with feeling that the fence of life was a bit too high. After all the experience that had swirled around getting an agent, I started to feel like mine wasn't really excited about my work anymore. When I asked her about it, she admitted that it was indeed the case. That hurt a bit, but I thought, that's okay. I'll start looking for another agent, and, with a published novel under my belt, the other agents will know that I'm serious.

Then came the second round of news. Spencer Hill Press was cancelling all of their middle grade novels, including mine, Living Bones.

Phew. It's definitely one of those moments where you wonder, do I have any business writing stories? Is this just a waste of time? Was the first agent and the first agreement of publication just a fluke that both my agent and my publishing company immediately regretted? Lots of self-doubt. Maybe it was time to give up on ridiculous dreams and live in reality.

But that's just not me, is it? Funny how the lyrics to my own goofy rap song popped into my head, just when I was giving up hope. I realized that I wasn't just giving up hope in the dream of becoming a writer, I was giving up hope in myself. Not okay.

And that's not how we succeed, either. We jump. Maybe we hit the fence. We slap to the ground, embarrassed as the fence rattles triumphantly. Then, we get up and do it again. We don't give up, and that's how we get to success.

So, I'm starting over. For those fans that preceded Living Bones, thanks so much for your support. Believe me when I say that the book will one day rise from the dead and be back on the market. I'm back in the market for an agent and we'll see how it all goes. Good or bad, I'll just keep jumping that fence...
wait for it...
...that's right... like a junkyard dawg!