Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Maybe it's me

I've been accused of being a fixer, on more than one occasion. Something happens, something negative, and the person wants to share, or vent, or commiserate. All I can ever focus on is how to fix it, change it, prevent it from happening again. Today I received some very disappointing news dealing with my own situation, and my first reaction was to tinker. I was relieved to know that I'm nothing if not consistent, and I was able to fully understand why I am not apt to passively mourn. I thought, well, I'm going to be sad, and this is going to be difficult, that's the easy part. That part happens whether I am productive or not. I also thought that maybe it was somehow my fault, and looking back, I recognized that I usually assume that's the case. That it's safer to believe that it's my fault, that somehow that is the less arrogant conclusion. Or maybe if it's my fault, I don't forfeit control.

I haven't blogged, naturally. I went into a frenzy over the last rejection, driven to figure out what I had done wrong, what needed to be fixed in my writing to get me higher. I learned some things again, in that quest. Not all editors are good, and not all editors are good matches. I came across more of that vague kind of feedback that is repeated often enough in books about writing, tips, and tricks, and techniques, methodologies for how to write publishable fiction. My core rejected such notions, feeling strongly that great works have been read, and envied, and studied, and all of the how-to's were developed based on patterns, tendencies, and commonalities found following failed attempts at duplication. Whereas my belief about such things is much more spiritual than mechanical. My earliest doctrine was that good writing gets published. I only speak to that mentor on birthdays, and yet I still believe it.

I have been doing the work. A friend suggested an online project sharing software, and I eventually caved. I think it works. There is a record out there in the cloud, an electric file detailing what I want to accomplish, and my progress in all of those things. It exposes me, and my sloth, and that itch of accountability compels me to work. Because I am familiar with failure, but I never want the reason I did not succeed to be that I did not try hard enough. Consequently, the latest project is on wheels. Chapter 9 is in the works, and I have the first six chapters sent out to readers, to get some perspective on what the novel is, or could be, to someone other than myself. I also have formatting being conducted to self publish a novella I wrote some years back. It seemed time. This process has introduced me to figuring out cover art, and the many entry fields of Amazon, along with editor rates, and editor results. I want to know what it's like; I want to add that arrow to my quiver.

I also recently spoke to a friend about hopes and dreams, in regards to what it takes to create the circumstances where those things can be realized. I understood, through that interaction, that the people I respected most in my life were the ones making that transition, were toiling to change something only they could see into something everyone could believe. I know enough of those people that interacting with someone who just talked about what they wanted and then never did it was an unusual occurrence. I couldn't imagine that, even now, in the pit of my latest failure. I thought something was going to happen, thought something was going to work out, but it was just another mirage. And yet, I cannot feel totally defeated.

I suppose because there are also miracles. I had a second chance at a first impression. A friend read my work, and was friendly about the feedback. They liked it, they said. They thought it was good, they said. They offered to edit it. I did not turn down the opportunity to have a better version of one of my stories, at worst different. When they read it, sincerely, it became something else for them. They came back with questions, and excitement. They realized it was really good. It took me some time to absorb the kindness of their initial dishonesty, at the same time as the pleasure of feeling adequate. However it did take the second read. Not the kind of reading, I imagined, that occurred over the slush bin, where many of my previous efforts were discarded. So, some providence to go along with the calamity.

Feeling crushed beneath boulders makes me feel stronger. I wonder if this is what madness feels like.