Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

“Publication – is the auction of the Mind of Man” ~Emily Dickinson

Her appetite is bottomless...

I finally got over my [fear? laziness?] and again submitted some work for publication. It only took me over a year…

When people ask what I do and I say, “I’m a writer,” the inevitable next question is, “oh, what have you published?”

“So far,” I answer, “nothing. It’s funny: editors seem to have a hard time finding my work if I don’t give it to them. I keep sitting in my big, comfy reading chair expecting Those in The Know to know that I’m here… but so far-”

Usually I’m motivated by this kind of “accomplishment/recognition stuff.” I got good grades in school by tying proverbial pink bows around all homework assignments. (And I always sat in front. Wink-) I got pats on the head at work by fulfilling my role as workaholic cog. (And I always wore a skirt. Double Wink-)

No, that’s not true. I didn’t play games but I did play The Game: give ‘em what they want how they want it.
+Follow convention
+Avoid subversive tendencies (unless they’re charming/non-threatening)
+Always look good on paper

But as I get older, I become more like my father — a man who was more willing to lose his job then submit to authority.

As a teacher at a local elementary school, he was required to document his vision for his curriculum. Thinking it more bureaucracy than productive, he “declined.” This caused a run-in with the principal, and after a few months of battling over what was ostensibly a one-page, double-spaced, 12-point-font quickie turned 27 pages of paperwork, my father was given the option to “write it, or face the consequences.” This was protocol, it was explained, and the administration was sorry he didn’t see the purpose of the paper, but that it was not up to his discretion to determine its usefulness.

He still refused, God bless him. It was only the desperation of my mother and her quick composition skills that saved my father from a pink slip.

In solidarity, I have taken a righteous stand against single-paged summaries of any kind.

This has invariably affected my ability to submit to various recipients my poetry, journalism pieces, and, at it happens, my resume.

Now, I know there are editors and “actual” writers out there who would take one look at me and conclude this is all a simple matter of defensive posturing (and, as far as I’m concerned, it is-) but as much as I know I “secretly” want to publish (and/or, for that matter, find my name in lights, and with a throng of adoring fans, please), I am also very protective of this vulnerable creative fire of mine.

And not from criticism or rejection- hell, I love hearing what isn’t good or needs improvement ( “what doesn’t kill me…”) but rather, I feel the need to protect my writing from myself. There is an old friend in me, and her name is Need, her favorite meal Approval, and she is very, very hungry. I know if I send things out for publication, it’s likely for all the wrong reasons.

Please, do not feed the monster.

My boyfriend recently said of publication:
‘Submit’ is a fitting word for the process, wouldn’t you say? Instead of, “are you published?” it should be, “do you submit?”

And so, once again, I have decided to bend over and take it like a woman. (The feminists will love me for that one). Last I checked, I’ve got 296 rejection slips to accumulate. It’s time to purge! I’ve decided on recklessness- send out all and anything I’ve got, throw out the rest. Start over. I’m considering it a general recycling of self. I figure in the very least, it’ll all make nice compost.


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