Sunday, May 15, 2005

You Gotta Have Faith, But I Feel Like an Atheist

With all the talk about religion in the public sphere, it’s time for my confessions.

I had a series of setbacks a week or so ago -- several rejections that, while quite conciliatory, ate at me. A couple of editors said no the novel. One story was close to being accepted but nope. Another piece I thought had a chance didn’t pass muster.

I don't know why these rejections bothered me, except to say I knew the editors for the stories, and I had high hopes for them. I happen to agree with their opinions, and I'm not mad at them -- they were honest and they have to make these decisions every day, many with people they know better than me.

Still, all this nada put me in a funk, and I just had to say Fuck It for a couple of weeks. Didn’t write any fiction. Didn’t write for the blog. Didn’t even make comments to other blogs. Couldn't bring myself to answer e-mail. Lost all sense of self. Sounds melodramatic, doesn’t it?

Wife was a bit concerned. We have a rule in the house that when someone gets a rejection, they’re allowed to pout for a day, but no longer. But the pouting continued for several days, a semi-depression that swallowed me like a…like a…well, so much that I couldn’t think of a decent simile or metaphor if my life depended upon it.

Just submitted a story

Wife noted, correctly, that writing fiction is, in itself, an enormous act of faith. You toil and strain for weeks, months, or longer, sweating out prepositional phrases and other assorted ephemera, then submit your carefully crafted 5,000 words to the whims of fate. Almost always, your work is rejected.

I consider Wife to be a great writer, but she once received 70 rejections in a single year. If that does not test your self-confidence, nothing will. I am not one to complain, but I do.

I'm not fishing for compliments or support, as that would make me even more pathetic than I feel right now.

Next time: something coherent, something that doesn’t make me cringe when I read it.