♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! If you’re new to the series, the authors included are grateful for your reads and appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Be prepared to become a regular reader.
Happy 240th Birthday to the United States. Saturday, I watched the film adaptation of the musical 1776 (1972). It reminded me of how far my country has yet to go to make good on its promise. For a good number of people who call themselves American, this nation hasn’t been the sunshine and bed of roses others believe it is. To them I say, every experience is different, and it’s no good to dismiss someone because you’ve not experienced the same. Erasure of that kind doesn’t help anyone.
This weekend, I also find myself contemplating, more than ever, my independence from pursuing a writing career. Much like the promises of the founding fathers have not reached everyone, my efforts to make something of my writing resulted in two decades of mediocrity. I don’t mean, by any stretch, that my writing is mediocre. I mean trying to find agents, publishers and an audience resulted in little to no headway. Maybe, then, in the end, my writing is a fat pile of shit. Yet, I spent a great deal of time and money on degrees/studies that attest to that not being true. My professors would crack a book over my head for suggesting it. The reviews say otherwise, too. Then, there is that one agent I had, way back when I just started out, who let me know that Penguin USA was impressed with my work, and told her to keep an eye on me.
Nevertheless, she did let me go. That’s the stuff I want to discuss: the soul crushing, health damaging slog to achieve a readership, of which many many authors face.
Ten years after I was dropped, I found a publisher who didn’t use agents to vet their authors. Instead, they used a submission team. And, thus, I got in the door. Honestly, I felt I cheated, or they were snowed by me. This year, they folded. I’m out on my own again. Perhaps, it was me who got snowed. If it weren’t for all I learned in that time about this business, it would have felt that way for sure.
The hardest part for me? All the great authors I was involved with have landed with other publishers and quite a few have obtained agents. With the same background, I only received rejections (two outright and then by being ignored). I don’t expect that will change. My history precludes it. You see, I spent the time before and during my stint with an agent building up my pile of rejections, until random chance suggested that was over. Even in a few years of self-publishing, I faced the same canned letters along with dismal online sales. I did much better in person, but to sell at venues, there was a lot of rigmarole for tax paying. To avoid all that, I would purchase the books and only charge my cost. I made nothing on them.
Of course, just as people take issue with saying America failed its mission thus far, many will jump up to say I’m handling this wrong and why I must keep trying. You realize, though, don’t you, that not everyone will be successful? Where would those tales of failure that pull at our heartstrings come from if it weren’t for people like me, who, for some reason, are marked out to fail. It’s like the powers that be nix everything you come up with to make a difference in your career, while they let it work for the next guy. Salting the wound. What is the point of being any good at something when no one cares? I certainly don’t need to write these stories down to entertain myself. If they only ever stayed inside my head, that’s good enough for me, but I had the crazy ideas others might like them, too.
Rest assured that jumping from this carousel of torture has been examined thoroughly and it’s not something an author decides lightly. I was ready to give up back in 2006, and I listened to all the reasons not to, and the awful people declaring that I didn’t love writing enough—and how they do their art for themselves. Hahahaha! If I had a buck for every time a successful artist, who has faced little to no adversity, told me I don’t love my art. Suffer for your art, really suffer for it, before you dare to tell anyone they’ve not bled enough for their dream. This person was showing in gallery in Europe at 22, because her family was connected. Such a wealth of knowledge on struggling, but privilege thinks it is the well of all wisdom, doesn’t it?
After examining my efforts with other authors who are doing quite well, and really looking at what is happening, I’ve spent several months thinking about what my next steps are. You should see their confusion as to why none of what I do works. This told me that I wasn’t imagining things, or overreacting. The fact was, no matter how much I love my writing, or want this, it’s a very real possibility that this is not going to happen for me. Certainly, I might decide to keep going. This isn’t a decision I’m deliberating on easily. My blood pressure continues to rise. My efforts at IVF continue to end in disappointment. And, my already weak immune system continues to weaken.
In the end, when the things you do starts affecting your health in bad ways, and nothing you do makes a bit of difference to change outcomes, isn’t it time to admit that the game is rigged and you’re only hurting yourself playing it?
So this Independence Day, I am contemplating liberation from my dream or allowing my dream to grind me under. Moving on is never easy. I have no idea what comes next, but I know I have to attend my new job that actually pays my bills, and spend time with my dog. I know I have to get healthy or lose the fight in every sense of the word.
The United States is facing just such a crisis, as the truth of it’s shortcomings come to light. Maybe one day, the both of us will realize the dream we embarked on one sunny, warm summer day.
Let’s hop on over and see what the other authors are making of Independence Day…