Thursday, May 24, 2012

Over the years, I've started viewing writing less as a pleasure and more of a job.  I have to.  One, because it is my job and two, because I hate writers who romanticize the craft without ever actually doing any actual writing (shout-out to my poet-bro John, who wrote 30 poems in 30 days during National Poetry Month in April).

But part of the job is submitting, and that part sucks.  It sucks because it's all mostly rejection letters, and for every cute "please send us something else!" written in pink pen at the bottom of an Oxford American rejection slip, there are five form emails calling you "Dear Author."  I once got a breakup rejection email ("it's not you, it's us") from a magazine trying too fucking hard to be all cute and twee and hip.  Like the Stonecoast MFA program didn't do enough damage to my self-esteem, now magazines are breaking up with me.  Thanks, stupid magazine.

I worked at two different FYE stores for about three years total in my early 20's.  I did not like it, but it was better than The Gap, where I previously worked and had to quit when a my idiot co-worker snorted "Ugh, do you see what that baby is wearing?" and I responded "You're beautiful" and things got pretty cold.

Yay Moxie!
Some of my FYE co-workers were fun, and I was a much better salesgirl than they were paying me to be, and learned to like Shiny Toy Guns and the Kaiser Chiefs and Judas Priest, but I was not going to advance beyond part time.  FYE would not be my career, although I made more money there than I did teaching three classes at SUNY Cobleskill.  No joke.

Submitting is like that. You do it because it's expected and it's part of the job, but you know that it's not going to get you anywhere.  And just like working at FYE during Christmas puts a little extra cash in your pocket, occasionally a submission comes through with a YES and you have a Moxie and things feel good for a few minutes.  But then lunch break is over, and you go back to work, and it sucks.

I'm back in the submission process.  I have three new stories ready to go, and I think they're pretty rad, but every time I click submit, I get disheartened.  The rejection letters don't bother me, I don't really even notice them anymore except to cross them out on my submission list.  It just feels so rote, so mundane, like there's no spark anymore.  No hope that maybe this one will get through.  If it comes back rejected, I shrug and send another one out.  No big deal . . . and I think that's what bothers me the most.  I want to feel that spark again.  I want that hope.  I don't want this to just be another job that I don't like, because I've had plenty of those . . . and if I did need that (like, for research) I could easily go back to work at FYE and get my fill of quiet desperation.

But I can't live like that.

1 comment:

  1. You like the Kaiser Chiefs? Awesome! I really enjoy Yours Truly, Angry Mob.