What can a writer do but submit their work. I’ve selected a few literary journals that I would love to see my work in and I’ve been sending them short fiction. So far, only rejection. No notes. No explanations. No encouragement. Just generic rejection notices (some in print, some digital). It’s the grind. It’s the writer’s life. And, even though it happens all the time, it hurts. I find myself questioning everything I’m doing. The Catch 22 moment is that if we don’t submit, we don’t get published. If we do submit, we’re going to be rejected. It’s self-inflicted, sadomasochism. So, is that really sadomasochism? I’m not sure, but it certainly doesn’t seem healthy.
So often, I feel like I’ve missed a step. Or that I’ve missed something important in life. I felt that growing up, that everyone around me really knew more than me. That persisted as I grew up and then grew older. I’m only now having the realization that no one really knows very much. Sure, there are specialists and experts at things, but then, take something they haven’t studied and they’re right in the pool with everyone else. They’re faking it. They’re pretending. They’re feeling crappy about some things in their lives. Now, most of those people aren’t writers, so they’re not writing about it, they’re not exposing themselves to rejection for it. But, there they are, all the same, not any more knowledgeable than the rest of us.
The other thing that came from my feeling as if everyone else knew more is that I’ve pushed myself to know as much as possible. And, because I changed directions so often, I’ve managed to learn quite a bit about a many things. And, yet, even when I’m being complimented for my knowledge, I still don’t feel like I know anything. So, maybe this is a conversation that would be better shared with a therapist than the public.
While out hiking the desert I often find rock art sites. They’re my favorite destinations. I often meditate at these sites and contemplate the life of the people who were here 1000 or so years ago, those who left some of this art, and I realize they knew very little compared to us–from a technology/trivia standpoint. And, yet, they knew how to survive in a hostile, desert environment. Not many of us can do that. They knew the basics of life. They traveled a bit. They had language and art and probably music. They knew what they needed to know to survive. They knew more than some and less than others. After all, they didn’t leave great monuments like humans in other parts of the word around the same time did. Not here in Nevada. But, they survived and left their marks on the canyon walls.
What mark will I leave? Well, I’ve written some words and they’ve been published. I hope for more of that. And, I’ve helped others become better at writing words with meaning–they may leave a mark because of that. And, in 1000 years it won’t really matter at all. I’ll have survived during my time and the folks on the planet in the future will be doing the same.