Well, here we are. Or here I am, in any case.
I never made a conscious decision to stop blogging, or take a break, or whatever this has been. Like many others, I got caught in the tidal wave of the pandemic, and just getting through was about all I could do. I’m not sure I’m restarting, either, this may be a one-off. But I have thoughts, one in particular, that’s been banging around my brain these past couple of weeks. And good grief, it’s been so long since I blogged, WordPress is using a new (not intuitive!) editor program, and it just took me twenty minutes to figure out how to insert a photo.
This was never specifically a writing blog–and it isn’t about to become one–but I have rambled a fair amount about writing because it’s a big part of me and my life. Over the course of the pandemic, I did more submitting of short stories than I ever had before, had some success (acceptances/publications), and lots of thanks but no thanks, often but not always with specific invitations to try again. That’s the way of the publishing world, until and unless you’re SUPER BIG NAME WITH MANY ACCOLADES. Which is not most, not even those who are successful. Over the past week I received a couple of rejections I’d been waiting for, and this morning I sat down to the laptop intending to choose a few new places to send those stories to, and just couldn’t. Not today. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week. Seriously, I feel like this chicken.
Smashed into an invisible wall and decided here was as good a place as any to drop.
So what are these deep thoughts I’ve been having that I absolutely needed to share with the world? Rejection, of course. Not in a poor me kind of way, not calculations of acceptances/rejections, not looking for pep talks or cheerleading. Just thinking about the repeated choice to continue pursuing some measure of success in an area where monthly, weekly, daily rejections are par for the course. Thinking this must have, have had, an effect on the choices I make, the way I view the world, the way I view myself. Don’t you think?
Seriously, I’m wondering. What would the difference be, if there was a difference, if I was one of the many who enjoyed reading and writing as a child, got some nice compliments from a second or fifth grade teacher, and just left it there? Limited writing to cute or heartfelt messages at the bottom of Christmas and birthday cards. Impassioned social media posts. Maybe became one of those obnoxious, “Oh, you write? I always wanted to write a book but don’t have time, I’m going to write a bestseller when I retire, I’ve got the formula down from all the thrillers I read.” I don’t think I’d be radically different, the rest of me is still me, the rest of life would still be what it is. I’d still have a dark outlook but like to laugh, still be an old-timey Noo Yawk broad, still hate when it’s cold enough I have to wear socks, still have some who think I’m funny and more who think I’m too damned much. But I think there is something, and I wonder if it’s something significant enough that after all these years it’d be noticeable? fundamental?
Sure, it’s well known you have to have or develop thick skin to pursue any creative work. Which is weird as fuck, because at the same time you have to remain so sensitive you’re raw, the proverbial bleeding onto the page. Have such an inflated sense of yourself, your words, your ability to create fictional people and worlds you put your work out there absolutely certain others will care enough about your characters they’ll laugh with them, be shocked by them, maybe even cry when you kill them off. Hope these imaginary readers will pay real money to read your work, while understanding and accepting many more won’t be interested, maybe even think your blatherings are good for nothing more than lining the chicken coop.
Do you line chicken coops with paper?