Rejection

Okay, let’s be honest here. Rejection is quite possibly the worst part of wanting to be a writer. Living in our heads, living in our hearts and souls, our stories seem so wonderful. Our characters lively and honest. They are a small piece of our souls living in the written word. Hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears go into this. To write is to make the choice to give up the chance to live for the hours it takes to write. To choose to imagine rather than experience.

That’s all fine. Until all the rejections build up and slam you in the head. Thus, my often sullen, sudden disappearance from the blogosphere (feeling sorry for myself is something I cannot seem to escape after 12 rejections in a row…)

But, once in a while, a rejection confirms something for you, almost by accident.

I had been thinking: maybe the issue with Bryn’s story is the way it starts, completely unrelated to the real meat of the book. Maybe, just maybe, its still good but needs that first chapter removed from existence. Maybe this is the answer to my problem. I don’t care about being published. I just want someone to read it and say, that’s good. I like that.

Well, the point it, today I received yet another rejection. In this one it was mentioned that the agent loved the idea of the book, but found the first few pages less interesting. And that has given me hope. Bryn is special to me. I think her story is as honest as any urban fantasy book can be. It is about love and friendship and sisterhood, and goodness. Bryn is special. To me. And here someone else at least said, the idea is good.

So let’s get scissoring away. That first chapter goes, and the submissions package will go out again, and we’ll see what happens.

If we’re lucky, maybe just once it won’t end in rejection.

If not, expect sullenness again. Unfortunately.

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First Published Review

So although it is on another person’s blog, I’ve just had my first review published by another person! YAY! It might be a small, tiny thing given the gargantuan nature of publications but it means a lot to me.

The review is on Facets of the Fabulous and at this link:

http://www.facetsofthefabulous.com/2012/03/precious-are-the-words-miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children-reviewed-by-rebecca-chmiel/

A wee bit of a rant…

So I found myself the unexpected recipient of a 2 week paid holiday. Silly me, I completely forgot about paid holidays and was told by my bosses that it had to be taken before the end of March. I’ve got another week and a half to take sometime during March (if, if, if). See, the big if is related to whether or not I stay at my current job, a thought which has been a bit of a nag during this time off work.

I’m not generally an unhappy person, to be honest. I am often pessimistic but I like to define it further as being happily pessimistic. It is often much easier for me to set my expectations low and have them surpassed than dare to believe in something magnificent happening only to have my soul crushed. This is because I’ve still not developed thick ‘writer’s skin’. So even though I am cheerful about my future as a whole despite knowing that I may never achieve greatness or even any considerable financial success (these are not very important to me on the whole, though I understand our culture rates them above other things, because for now I just want to be happy), I find myself more and more downtrodden at my current job.

It is because within that position I am a waitress/ Manager on Duty, and to be perfectly frank, waitressing is one of the few jobs in which the people you deal with daily don’t particularly care about revealing the qualities they might otherwise hide from the rest of the human race (snobbishness, rudeness, the tendency to believe that other humans are the scum under your shoe, etc, etc). It’s true that while being a waitress I have seen customers be genuinely more caring than people would generally show as well. But there are a lot more jerks out there than nice guys. True examples:

  • “Ah, you’ve done a masters? I didn’t know that waitresses needed such qualifications!”- said with a snicker and glace over to the other suit-types sitting around the table.
  • During a trial of an inane beeper system where the customers can press a button to get their waitresses attention: “Yeah, so, like, you’re kind of our dog.”
  • “Well, your parents must be very disappointed that you’ve come all this way, completed not just an undergraduate degree but also a masters and can only find work in hospitality. Did you fail?”

My grandmother raised me to believe that one can say anything if it is said with a smile. These people and countless others like them are proof that, in fact, this is not always true.

Anyway, the point is, I’ve been MIA because I’ve been looking for work that won’t make me feel a piece of my soul blacken up and fall off every time I walk in the doors. Sorry for that.

Music

I’m not sure what it is about the girl, but for some reason entirely unknown (but often speculated upon) to me, Regina Spektor’s songs creep into my head and become a kind of breeding ground for new stories. Now, she may not be everyone’s kind of singer but there is something about her that is just magic.

I kid you not, the idea for my Masters’ dissertation was bred upon one of her songs called Machine. It made me think about the relationship between people and technology, the ways in which technology has changed relationships between people and what it means to an identity that we have access to all these technologically enabled media in which we are whatever we want to be- what this means for truthfulness and honesty as well as how our perceptions of our online personas relate to our physical personalities. Anyways, long story short, she hits me hard right in the thinker.

At the moment, my obsession is ‘Just like the Movies’ (just as a warning, it is not loved by everyone), which has crawled into my head and made a home, as well as calling up a woman’s voice who wants her story put down on paper but is being surprisingly uncommunicative. She continues to pop up at the most inopportune moments and then disappear whenever she likes. Pff. Annoying and intriguing at the same time. Her reluctance to tell me the entire story only makes me wonder about her all the more. I sense a very twisted ending…

A Very Testosterone Filled Day

Yesterday was a very, very testosterone filled day. It started out with several games of paintball (see above photo), roughly 6 hours worth if we’re counting time. From there we all went for showers before watching rugby (possibly the most testosterone filled sport- think American football without pads). The rugby game was Scotland vs. England, meaning that it was a pretty big game. The men I was hanging around with were all still pretty full of post-paintball adrenaline and weren’t pleased with Scotland’s loss. In fact one guy got so mad he stormed out of the room for five minutes to cool down. When he returned, drinks began flowing quicker. All the better to ease the pain of losing, my dear. Simply enough, it was a poorly mixed night: tequila, Sambucca, whiskey beer, wine, Bacardi, etc, etc. So it got pretty damn messy pretty damn quickly.

Today has not gone well for me because of this. Sorry for the pitiful post. This is all I’ve got at the moment.

The Parasite of Writing

Now this is going to sound strange, and I’m very, very aware of it, but let me get it off my chest. I sometimes feel that comparing writing to a child is a little too kind of an analogy. All published writers, those making money from it, always say how its a little piece of their soul bounding into life and shooting off into a million different directions. And it is. They’re right. But what about all the unpublished writers?

I sometimes feel like the writing is more a parasite, as if its something that has infiltrated my body, my mind and my soul and is consuming more of me every day. Sure, some days I wake up with a blank mind that’s like, “Hey, chill out! You’ve earned it!” But most days I wake up with all these stories in my head, all these characters talking, and they all want out. Given that I have not (as of yet) earned any money from writing, it proves itself rather unwelcome at certain points in my life. For example:

It’s the final year of the undergraduate degree. Working 2.5 days a week. Being a trainee-teacher for an EFL class 1 night a week. Attending class 3 days a week. Working in an after-hours school 2 days a week. Creating lesson plans anytime I can. Sleeping whenever I can. And bam: dissertation. Dissertation slips in, has to slip in, has to fit in somewhere. There isn’t any time. There isn’t any time! But wait one more second, there’s Bryn. There’s Bryn, the main character of my recently edited mss, standing there, smiling, and waiting for me to tell her story. Where does everything fit? Where does it all fit?!

 

Well, luckily for me, I figured it out. I even got to sleep a few hours every night! But that is just one example of a period in which the ‘writing parasite’ struck at a most inappropriate time. Most inappropriate indeed!

I feel, sometimes, that I could be a lot more successful if the parasite would go away. Like, have a real job instead of working at a restaurant (again, ugh!). I feel, sometimes, like I’d be a lot more connected to reality if the parasite would go away.

But then I realize, life would be a lot more boring as well.

Then I realize, though the parasite’s timing sucks, I’m glad I’ve got it. That bug, under my skin, makes me see things that aren’t there and let’s me live in places that aren’t there. In fact, though it’s timing could be better, I wouldn’t give the damned thing up.

Not even when I haven’t slept more than 4 hours a night for weeks on end.

Foolish, foolish girl.