Wednesday, October 05, 2011

To submit or not to submit: that is the question.

I have asked this question before but it is one of those questions which continues to raise its ugly head. Fellow poets/writers have been posting of late about submission successes and I always have a twinge of envy.

I am delighted for them because I know how I would feel in such a situation, but envious that it does not seem to be my destiny. I am conscious of the fact that believing it might not be my destiny sends out 'negative' energy but at the same time, it soothes the wound of failure. And it is failure. Any creative act demands to be shared and writing, as I have said before, is the one creative act which is most difficult to share unless one is published.

I feel like the small yellow flower in the photo above, surrounded by weeds of unsuccessful submissions. Like most writers, I could, if I had bothered to save them, summon up hundreds of rejection slips. Is it better or worse to know that amongst those slips are countless comments about 'how well I write,' 'how good my novel is,' 'how brilliant my writing is at times, 'how poetically I write,' and all of them followed by words along the lines of, 'but we are unable to accept you/it at this time and wish you the best of luck.

Perhaps if I had been told my writing was crap, my novels were rubbish, I would have given up long ago. Hmmm, not sure about that. I don't give up easily. But I suppose such positives push me to a place of thinking:'Okay, I write well, the books are often good, or as one novel was described by an agent I had briefly in London, 'better than good,' then there must be another reason for the lack of success.

Given that I believe everything happens for a reason and all is about learning lessons, then clearly the lesson for me is to accept that success as a published writer is not likely to be my destiny.... although I do have time, just into my sixties and more than one writer has finally found acceptance in their seventies or even eighties. But perhaps the lesson simply is to accept that the creative gift is mine to have not share.

It's hard at times though. As someone who loves to cook I liken it to putting enormous effort into preparing a wonderful meal which no-one eats! The truly rotten bit is that no-one tells me why! Too hot, too cold, too much salt, not enough salt, hate fish, don't eat onions.... etc. etc. etc. As a cook I would be devastated and probably throw my guests out of the house and sit down and enjoy the meal myself.

Which I guess is what I do with writing a lot of the time. I like my books. I go back to them and wonder if I could have done it differently but always I like them. I like the writing, I like the story, I like the feel of them.... they are my friends. It's just that at this point in time I am pretty much the only one who feels that way.

And perhaps that is how it is meant to be. Inshallah! A word I learned in India... as God wills... all is as it should be. I still think it is a pisser though. I would love to see my babies in print. Not that I can't for I can and will self-publish when I am once again back in Oz.... but that just means I can put them on a shelf, it doesn't mean anyone will read them.

Which returns me to the question - does it matter? Probably not. As a legacy of my life they are not important; they are just something I did. People matter. Everything else is things and stuff and that includes being published.


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