Posted in Life

The Masochistic Literary Game

Today I got another rejection letter from a potential agent. I can hook them, but I can’t sink ‘em. I sent out ten queries as a first round pitch, and received three request for partials, and two requests for wholes. Then, one by one the rejections trickled in. I got the last one in yesterday. Honestly, after nine other rejections, I knew this one was coming anyway.

But from everything I’ve read, that’s a fairly good success rate. Partials requests are rare, and full manuscript requests even rarer. So, I have to keep on trying. Publishing lore is full of authors with rejection letters numbering three and four digits, that are now household names. And so we truck on, holding these names in our hearts, believing that perhaps we are just one of them.  We must console ourselves because we know that we really can’t do much else in life. We were created to write, and if we can’t do that, then what? Well, maybe I could learn to teach Scuba diving? But I don’t even swim.

Publishing is a game for masochists. Those that have some sort of deep insecurity and feelings of self-doubt that they need validated by a community of ruthless professionals. “Yes, you do in fact, suck at the artistic endeavor that you have poured your entire being into. That one talent that you thought made you special, unique, and set you apart from the masses of faceless individuals, well, you’re decent, but…I’ve had better.” And through sniffles, we say, “I knew it.” This is why writers become drunks. Publishing sucks.

In their defense, all the agents I’ve spoken to have been kindly sorts, that issue gentle but encouraging rejections. At least I’ve got that going for me.  They all agree the concept is great…but after that come the long list of “buts.” And so it goes. At least I’m in the game, right? And that makes me a masochist.

Posted in Life

Is There Magic to Christmas?

They’ve started with the Christmas music in the mall where I work. It’s still about a week until Thanksgiving. I used to love Christmas. In some ways I still do. The crisp wintry air, the cozy warmth of a low-lit tree, the reds, greens, golds and silvers…But, the last several years, the holiday itself just seems to be a huge anti-climactic affair.

The marketing seems to have a hollow air to it too. The last decade or so, the Christmas shopping season has felt less like a cheery act of gift giving, but more a desperate attempt to squeeze consumer spending out of a dying economy. Of course, retailers have always seen Christmas as their huge cash cow to cap off the year. But, lately, it seems as if it’s the only cow. Sacrifice Jesus to resurrect American capitalism.  This overarching fear over the season, leaves a sort of a macabre taste to it. It’s as if it’s the empty attempt to hold onto whatever scrap of Normal Rockwell Americana we have left, after global socialism has taken its hold over the last decade.

I’ve even heard Christians, once valiant defenders of “Merry Christmas,” now start to question the validity of the holiday at all. Does Christmas glorify Christ? Honestly, I don’t know. I guess it does in that we do think of Him…at least when we’re not too busy out spending money. I can see how giving gifts to everyone you know is an act of love, and we’re all for loving others. And spending time with family and friends is good. But, going broke until practically February to do it? Ehhh…And I’m not anti-gifts. I’ve heard some people rant against gift giving of Christmas. I love giving gifts. It’s fun and exciting. It’s just Christmas puts so much pressure on it. It’s like, you have to assign an annual price tag to every relationship in your life. That’s stressful.

Maybe I’m just cynical. Maybe I’m just over Christmas. I guess if I had a family of my own…husband, kids, and what have you, I’d feel differently. But, for a single adult, Christmas just seems to be an inconvenient, and expensive, interruption to regular life.

 

 

Posted in Life, Writing

Relish

Relish

…Warm coffee on a crisp autumn day
…Baby hugs and toddler kisses
…Sweet slumber after a long day’s work
…Oozing sugar on hot cinnamon rolls
…Deep conversations that last long into the night
…The people that love you anyway
…Soft color hues on a wide country sunset
…Laughter that comes easy and smiles that last all night
…Swelling pulsating rhythm of good music
…Ice cream and warm memories over movie nights
…Getting what you’ve worked for
…Long good reads that calm your brain like a deep massage
…The moment when you you’ve “figured it out”
…Long kisses and deep, warm love

Relish…

…The deep cisterns of life and all its complexities.

Posted in Uncategorized

…And God Laughed…

Today, I woke up in fear and trepidation over certain events that will play out before the night’s end. Over foaming toothpaste and steaming coffee (yes, weird combo. And a bit…counterproductive I think..) I breathed desperate prayers that lasted through the morning commute. But somewhere in there, through the garbled prayers rising silently under my furrowed brow, I heard it. The gentle laughter of God. 

I realized, these problems, these fears, these impossible situations that paralyze us, do not threaten God nor his plans for us. My yoke is easy, my burden is light, Jesus said. Commit your ways to the Lord, and he will direct your paths, Proverbs said. 

I think living in an intercessory spiritual warfare community for several years, altered the way I see things. I don’t have to spend three hours on the floor rebuking Devils and binding spirits for God to move. That’s exhausting, and sometimes takes more emotional energy than the problem itself. Now, There is certainly a time for all that, but ultimately, the battle is the Lord’s. And, God is in control. So, I still have no answers to these vexing problems I face today. And even as I am writing this, I still have yet to face them. But, I am not afraid of them anymore. I choose to live in peace. I choose peace, because God laughed. 

Posted in Life

Drinking Coffee Creamer: Thoughts on the Starving Artist Years

Today I am looking for a new job. A real job. The kind where you trade in your name tag and standardized dress code, for a pair of heels and a running line of credit at New York and Company.

I haven’t done this in a long time. Not really, anyway. I’ve been caught up in writing and ministry for the last seven years, and between the two, and the occasional trained monkey job when the fancy struck, I’ve managed decently.

I’ve been grateful for these last years. They have been my starving artist years. I am so grateful to have been able to have had them. So many artists find themselves caught up so quickly in the corporate world, they never even get to have these years. This time was everything being a starving artist is supposed to be. Glorious at times and difficult other times.

There was a whole year, I lived on instant oatmeal and coffee. Then there was one day where I was out of coffee, the tap water was unfit for drinking, and I had seriously had nothing in the fridge to drink. So, I drank coffee creamer. It wasn’t like I could do anything else with it.

But, I didn’t care. I was churning out material like a boss. The hunger pangs, and the nauseating sugar rush of pure creamer were the price to pay for artistic accomplishment. I was doing everything I was created to do. And for that, I will never regret.

In that time, I wrote a novel, and I am now in talks with agents. I self-published a poetry book. I was published in the one magazine that has been on my bucket list since I was ten years old…along with a number of other credits and accomplishments. And for all of this, the instant oatmeal, and years of flip-flops, bad cars and walking for transportation was worth it.

But, I have found that I have gone as far with my writing as I know to do on my own. It’s all a waiting game for publication now, and until the calls for six-figured advances start rolling in, I have decided to do something else for a season.

I will continue to pursue writing professionally, but I have decided I am done being a starving artist. Those years were beautiful. But this is a new time. And I’m tired of being a trained monkey.

Posted in Life

Just Get Insurance and Vote: Thoughts on Government Protest

So, it’s on us once again. The American Presidential election. I haven’t voted in a long time. For one, everytime the election rolls around, I live in a different state than I did last time. I don’t even know where I have a ballot.

But, I’ve stopped voting anyway. I guess this has to do with that I came of age during the controversial Bush-Gore election of 2000. What was supposed to be a starry-eyed warm, ooey-gooey feeling of democracy, was forever tainted by news footage of voting boards sitting in cramped rooms poring over chads…dimpled chads, hanging chads…which one counts…”I demand a recount!”

And I realized, yes, the world was zoned in on Florida because the governor just so happened to be the brother of the Republican candidate. (What were the odds?!) But, I thought, if the news media and voting integrity zoned in on every state like that, who knows what would happen?! Aside from that, living in a very southern Bible belt area, and not in a swing state, the electoral college ensured my vote didn’t matter way. Voting, I decided was a scam.

By the next election, I had discovered the Illuminati, and was a hardcore conspiracy theorist. (I have calmed down a lot on that). But, I decided not only was voting a fraud, but so was democracy. The presidential election was sort of like a bad reality show, like Rock of Love, or The Bachelor. There was a predetermined winner all along, but the process is entertaining.

I still pretty much feel that way. Although, this election seems to be worse than the others. I’ve read books on both candidates. They are both awful human beings that need to be in jail. So, casting a ballot for either of them seems to be somehow a breach of conscience. But, I was in a sermon once, where the pastor addressed this issue. He agreed that many people feel democracy was a farce, and while he couldn’t say for certain how deep the governmental deception went, he explained we couldn’t give up. “Voting is still the right thing to do. Whether it matters or not, it’s the right thing to do.” He explained that we will give account for what we did or didn’t do, and not voting is not doing anything.

He’s right, I know. That’s why I quoted him. But, still, everytime I think of going to a voting booth, I can hear this laughter in my head. The “elite” that run the word laughing at the huddled masses waiting to vote in the rain. “And they think they have power. Hahahaha!”

And something in me doesn’t want to vote in silent defiance. Dumb I know. But, it’s sort of like my stance of being a conscientious objector to Obamacare. No one’s watching, and it really just hurts me. So, maybe I should just get insurance and vote.