Tuesday was a highly condensed bag of success and failure as far as my writing career goes. Good news first, I wrote an article on Genderqueer Identity for Butch Lab, Sinclair Sexsmith’s transmasculine community project. It was posted on Tuesday and not only have I gotten some blog traffic from Butch Lab, I also got paid a small amount for contributing to the site. This is the first time I’ve ever gotten paid for writing anything other than technical documents. That goes into my “writer’s favorite moments” file for sure.
Later that morning, Roxy said she’d received an exciting email and I should check my email. I looked, but there wasn’t anything new since the email about my Butch Lab article. I asked her what I should be looking for and she said she’d gotten a notification that her piece would appear in the Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology that Sinclair was editing. I was very happy for her, of course, but the lack of such a message in my inbox was a down note.
Not long after, I did receive an email regarding the anthology — the rejection. Very graciously worded, Sinclair praised those of us who weren’t selected and passed on suggestions for other calls for submission we may want to investigate.
Roxy was wonderful, frustrated and sad for me, sure it had been a mistake and that I should have been included. There’s no doubt in my mind that including her piece was an excellent choice — she has such a unique voice and the story is sexy, creative and amazing. I’m really excited about getting my copy and reading it over and over again.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I got pretty down about the rejection. Getting my work into a dead-tree based book is a major goal of mine and has been for a long time. To add to the mixed emotions of the day, we later found out that a friend of ours, Wendi Kali, had also been selected for the anthology. Again, I’m happy for her, but I did wallow in a vat of bitter self-pity for a little while.
I spent too much time questioning my skill, my style, my subject matter, my abilities, my choices.. pretty much everything. I tore myself down pretty hard. I allowed myself that pity party because I knew it wouldn’t last long. Yes, I’m disappointed in this result, and yes, I will be submitting to other anthologies (another one’s due at the end of the month). And, yes, I believe in my ability. I know there will be more rejections in my future, because I’m going to do a lot of submitting (I’m waiting on 3 other notifications already). I suppose I’ll get used to rejection, and hopefully acceptance, over time. Or maybe I’ll just get more efficient in the cycle of pity-party to motivation.
Maybe I’m a little intense about this, maybe I should be able to brush aside rejection with more maturity. Maybe. But this is who I am. I’m intense, I’m passionate, I want to succeed, I’m really fucking into this. I want people to read my words, to be turned on, turned around, effected somehow. I want people to dog-ear the page my story starts on.
And, more than anything, regardless of where my words end up, I want to be able to say, without reservation or apology or caveat ….
I’m a writer.
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