I’ve recently started submitting stories for publication. Short stories, that is. Nothing huge and only to smaller publications (well, one sorta biggun). By recently, I mean in the last week or so. Yup, it’s taken me this long to find the nerve to send my words out past the comfort of friends and family and into the big wide world where they have been… rejected.
I know, I know. We’re not supposed to think of it as being rejected. We’re supposed to think of it as, “The story wasn’t a good fit.” Fuck that. They’re called rejection letters for a reason. Out of three submissions (yes, I know, that’s not much at all. Shush.), two have been declined. The third is ominously silent.
Everyone tells me it’s part of the process (got it). Everyone says keep going (I will). Everyone says I have skill (never get tired of hearing that). But I had to take a moment and pout. I had to let myself be dejected because someone, somewhere, wasn’t on board the Author Kim train. Two someones.
There are, of course, bigger things happening in my world and the world in general. The US is screaming towards a boiling point and I’m honestly afraid of what can and might happen when it tips over. There’s no doubt in my mind that it will tip. The only question is “What’s after?” Despair #2. No, I’m not about to make this a political blog. Far wiser people than I am have this covered already. But when you are trying to build a life around a skill that doesn’t involve a 9-5, M-F, paid holidays job, you may find that the big ticket items get into your head and unsettle your work. Jeez, that was an awkward sentence. And I’m not going to fix it! It’s the perfect example of itself. My head is a mess this morning and so are my words.
Both of those lead us to Despair #3 – a general desire to shuffle around in my slippers, staring out the window at the gloomy rainy day. (Really, Florida? Why you gotta do me like this today?) Ever see or read the Neverending Story? (If not, fix that. Right now.) There’s a bit of that. The Nothing is going to win. The spectre of every tragic artist is lingering just over my shoulder, beckoning me to join them, just for a day.
Tempting, but naw. I’ve got puppies and love and cookies and ice cream. I also have what a very dear friend labeled a super-power. I have words and I can make them dance. So that Despair in Three Parts has had its moment on the stage. The show is over. The crowd has dispersed. Back to work.
The only way I have found to step around black clouds is to sink my teeth into a new project. That doesn’t mean abandoning the old. There will still be submissions and not-good-fits. It just means finding something to respark the flame. It’s not just about surrounding yourself in creativity. Sometimes, it’s about actively pushing back. It’s about doing something to feel like you’re doing something. For me, that means writing letters to political entities, helping a couple of friends with their businesses, and finding more ways to make my own dreams behave.
The moment we stop moving forward, the Nothing wins.