Once Bitten Twice Sigh: Dealing with Rejection

*Sigh*.  Another day, another rejection – this time in the form of a competition shortlist which unaccountably did not have my name on it.  It’s very hard to keep going during these times: you feel a blow to the stomach like a sucker-punch which takes all the air out of your lungs.  You start to feel a bit sick: then the inevitable thoughts come in.  Why did I think that story was any good?  Of course they didn’t choose it!  What makes you think you’ll make a writer?  And so on.  But along with that there’s a stony stubbornness which won’t let me stop: and that’s a good thing – but right now it doesn’t feel good.  Right now that stubbornness feels like your doom.  It seems there’s no escape from your own nature – or fate, or whatever it is – and you start to feel like Sisyphus, condemned to push a rock up a mountain only to see it roll to the bottom.  Every time.

Maybe I should write a story about that….

Because yes, in the end that is the only response; to turn your experiences into art.  And thankfully nowadays the sucker-punch doesn’t last too long: I bounce back from it relatively quickly.  But it’s very hard to find a place in a world which doesn’t seem to have any time for your work.  My problem with stories is, I think, that they don’t have a strong plot.  I’m not good with strong plots: my strengths lie in ideas and characters; moments in a life.  Although I have had some success with surreal plots, such as Mem Mat, the one about the memory mattress which stores your actual memories.  I have also – as is only fair – had some success with writing about trans issues: first with the Mslexia blog and before that, a story called DIVORK where a woman thinks her husband is having an affair because of a lip-print on a glass, only to discover that the lipstick is his.

As far as poetry goes I think my problem is that I write a lot of rhyming verse and there seems to be a mindset that serious poets write free verse.  Hence I’ve had more success with comic verse.  Interestingly this mirrors the process when I began to write: unable at first to take myself seriously as a poet, I started with parodies and comic rhymes, assuming like everyone else that the serious poet did not rhyme (or only sporadically) and that therefore I was not a Serious Poet.  It took a long while for me to be persuaded otherwise – and now it seems to be taking a long while for publishers to be persuaded, too.

*Sigh!*

So here’s the rub: do you carry on doing what you do even though no-one seems to like it, or do you try to alter what you do to fit in?

Answers below please…

Kirk out

 

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7 Comments

Filed under friends and family, my magnum hopeless, poems, short stories

7 responses to “Once Bitten Twice Sigh: Dealing with Rejection

  1. Sarada Gray

    This reminds me of a story my yoga teacher used to tell. ‘You can be the finest apple in creation. But then one day you fall in love with someone who does not like apples. So you can try to be a banana. But you will always be a second-rate banana. so you can carry on being a second-rate banana or you can return to being the finest apple

  2. A

    It sounds a good moment for the old good Bukowski: https://youtu.be/F_1EiVAb_O8

  3. Graham Price

    I think trying to please other people – in this case, a notional, faceless ‘audience’ – is a hiding to nothing; and very often, people don’t know what you like until you inadvertently supply it. So, really, you have no choice but to carry on doing what you’re doing.

  4. Graham Price

    Here’s your theme song for today (sort of). Remember this one?

  5. Sarada Gray

    Yes I had the song in mind as I was writing!

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