You know, kids, the thing about being a writer is that one is compelled to transcribe the contents of one’s brain to paper or screen. We don’t really have a choice. It’s gonna come out whether we like it or not, whether in stories we tell our kids (or in my case, nieces and nephews) or poetry, or screenplays (I’m looking at you, RedHead) or angry letters to the neighborhood board about McPherson’s azalea bush, which is clearly blocking the line of sight at the stop sign and is gonna cause an accident some day, mark my words.
And yet, there’s also that niggling fear that forces us to hoard our creative efforts. Casual writing, like many of the entries on this blog, causes me no great pain when I hit “publish.” It’s fun, it’s wacky, it’s not gonna kill me if someone reads it and says “Wow, I hope they adjust her medication soon.” But the real stuff – like my excerpts – are posted in teeny-tiny snippets, because I cannot seem to bear the idea that someone might look at the “good stuff” and find it wanting. And now we can add to this list a short story that is:
A) Probably the best thing I’ve ever written (subjectively speaking, of course)
B) Eminently marketable within a specific market
And today I’m supposed to send it over to my business partner and occasional editor for review. Yet here I am, fussing over it once again, contemplating sending her the first five pages and seeing what she thinks, unwilling to put the whole enchilada out there for fear that someone’s serving will have a hair of insipidness in it.
She’s always chiding me (in her gentle way), reminding me that “the greatest writers were never published.” She knows that, despite a cavalier and borderline negligent attitude toward anything I find irrelevant (proper grocery shopping, money management, household repairs involving anything more complex than cardboard and tape) I am obsessive about the things I do love, clamping onto them with the tenacity of a rabid wolverine.
I understand that making a career out of my creative efforts requires a certain willingness to endure the rejection and opprobrium of strangers (as well as a belief that those same strangers simultaneously possess the power to embrace and distribute my work to a worldwide audience). And this blog has been one of my baby steps in that direction. So today, I will send her part of the story (the part I’m reasonably confident will not make her throw every book she owns into the fire and then claw out her eyes lest she be forced to read anything that horrible ever again) and try to work up my nerve for the rest.
Right after I make a few more edits.