Is it possible to turn the other cheek when you’ve torn open that envelope in gleeful anticipation, the one with sharp calligraphy in the return address corner, the one with a tiny card inside and the expected magical words we want to represent you, we enjoyed your story and want to publish it, we love you more than any other writer we have ever read, (maybe that’s pushing it), only to find that photocopied dagger instead – We’re sorry but all we can wish you is the best with your writing in the future.
Can any human form sustain repeated blows to that metaphorical body of dreams or ignore old scabs peeled away before they had fully healed?
Certainly not, but it’s the nature of the business if you want to remain a writer. And even that form of persuasion wears thin the more you say it.
So what do you do when no one is around to cut that albatross from your neck, the one that gets heavier with every rainfall? You give up, simply put, and then you realize you don’t want to give up. That’s when you return to that white computer screen that itches to be filled with a wild burst of black hieroglyphics.
You sit down, lock the door and you amaze yourself once again with ideas and thoughts you never dreamed of putting together. You convince yourself that this latest piece is the best thing you’ve ever written.
You sleep on it, because yes, you have learned something about writing stories. When you wake up, you find that the work is better the next day, like good pizza, especially because you’ve had a leftover dream with a more complex idea that makes it even tastier.
You polish it and dress it the best you can. You call it pet names before you give it a title. You hypnotize yourself into believing that the story is more mature than any of your other babies, and then you open that door to introduce it to the world, wrapped up tightly in a padded envelope to protect it from those brutal, illiterate mailmen who have yet to understand the word fragile.
And when you send it away to that magazine, or that agent, you imagine it sitting on an airplane alone, amidst bigger, less important packages, because you’ve sent it express. It only makes sense that you send a diamond overnight. The interested agent will know you’re serious and invite your baby in for dinner. In this setting (preferably New York) the agent will wine and dine your masterpiece, see traces of you, its creator, in its eyes and fall in love.
Although you worry how naïve and vulnerable your creation is, you hope deep down that this blind date will work out well, that your unknown story, although young but beautiful in your eyes, will evoke such passion in that stiff, balding agent – that perfect beast for your beauty. You wish in every way for your story to remain pure, yet you know darn well that it will lose its virginity one day, to that Armani bearing agent, or better yet, to an abusive editor at a major house, who will find just the write words to woo it, to make it feel real, perfect in its imperfections.
All you hope for by this time is the courtesy phone call, that nervous, humble voice on the other end of the line who calls to ask you, the expectant parent, for your blessing, your baby’s hand in marriage, a union that will be both prosperous and free, one that will produce a multitude of offspring who will travel the world with your name, infecting all hearts and minds alike. Not to mention the money.