I don’t want anyone to think that just because I’ve had a short story and a feature magazine article published this month that I think I’m a rock star or some kind of super hero. But what really does deserves a pat on the back is that I overcame the limitations I placed on myself long enough to finally make something happen with that writing.
First off, Lostmnesia was rejected by twenty four literary magazines. Twenty-four. Twenty four times, I had to read why someone thought my story was good but needed just a little of this or a lot of that or just wasn’t right for them at this time. That’s a little like: it’s not you, it’s me, so let’s just be friends.
And then there are all the literary magazines that just plain ignored me. I didn’t even get the closure that at least comes with a rejection.
If it wasn’t for my supportive friends in my writing group – Writing Safety Tree – and my amazing husband, my writing wouldn’t have happened.
|Some of us couldn’t come because of mommy duties but from top
left to right we have Laurel Janssen Byrne, Julie Gardner,
Charlene Ross, me, Kim Tracy Prince and Lexi Rohner
Writers (or me) are very sensitive people. So everything can hurt. But you have to be sensitive to pick up on the little things and then process them well enough to articulate what happened to complete strangers. Or friends. Or family.
It all starts with sorting through the feelings in your own head though. And that can be a sticky uncomfortable mess. You don’t know what’s in there or where it’s been or who’s touched it. Ick. I think maybe that’s why many people stay away from it.
But then there are the
masochists brave ones who insist on not only touching it but sorting through it and putting it together in an orderly fashion so that the next person might better be able to sort through their own sticky mess. I think that’s what writers try to do. Or, I guess, what I try to do. Organize then inspire.
But then there are the mean voices. You may or may not have them in your head but the ones in mine do two things when I finally decide I’m going in. First they say, hey, look at all the stuff you have to do, like dishes and ordering prints for that summer album, before you can sit down and waste your time with your trivial writing pursuits. Then they say, you have nothing to say anyway and even if you did, you don’t know how to say it in the right way.
I didn’t used to have the strength to show up and write anyway. Well, maybe only in my journal but then I’d worry that someone would find it and I’d be exposed. But if the planets did align and I did actually find myself in front of my computer (avoiding Facebook) and actually getting some thoughts down – finding that kernel of truth inside that chaotic spin – the result inside my body after was almost orgasmic. Yes, it’s that kind of high. Overcoming fear, deciphering the noise and putting together a tangible sentence leaves me walking on a euphoric cloud.
So, why can’t I gather, to the forefront of my consciousness, all these fantastic memories of feeling just that and know that all I have to do is show up and sit down? Because the mean voices are louder than any others I can muster on my own. And it wasn’t until I met my husband, who tries to drown out those mean voices with praise, that I started to suspect their lies. And it wasn’t until I joined my writing group that I no longer felt destined to share a lifelong prison cell, inside my head, with those mean voices. I found out those voices live within every writer in our group. So, together, we lock hands and refuse to let them scare us anymore.
And, that’s the real victory. It’s not that I’ve had two things published this month. No, the victory is despite the roadblocks my own head has put up to deter myself from doing the only thing in my life (besides motherhood) that I’ve desired with my full heart, I’ve managed to break through with the help of my friends and the love of my husband.
So I guess that’s the point. We are stronger together than we are alone.
It’s still a challenge sometimes (um, especially now that there are kids in the picture who consider me their on call servant 24/7) but it’s less so today than yesterday.
So, if you love something, go find someone that also loves that something and do it together. It’s the miracle of communal creation. No one achieves anything alone.
And if you want to read my new short story, you can find it here. And if you want to leave a comment on their website to tell them what you thought of the story, you will have my eternal gratitude (well, only if you actually liked it, ha ha).