I’ve just clicked “send” on an email to a Canadian magazine that prints all sorts of (quite good) artsy-fartsy stuff like poetry and paintings and short stories. Attached to my email was a Word document containing a brief bio and two of my very own shorts. Afterward I sat back and experienced a sensation I know all too well from when I started querying magazines for nonfiction pieces. It’s a sort of pull on my emotions in three distinct directions: relief, overt anxiety, and the nagging sense that I’ve no business sitting back in the first place, and I need to just get over it and get onto the next thing.
The annoying bit is that the nagging is more spot on than any of it. In all likelihood, they will read my stories and think, “Oh, that’s nice,” just as they toss them into the recycling (assuming they felt them worthy of printing off in the first place, and they have a decent sense of responsibility to our planet). That’s the truth, the fact that it equates to tiny little daggers poking into every square millimeter of my ego notwithstanding. And so, gentle reader, wonderful reader, reader who reads me so regularly I could kiss you but you all live way too far away for that, what’s a girl to do? Try to find balance, that’s what. Again.
I think it’s worth noting here that the act of enduring angst-ridden stress has to burn at least as many calories as studying, which apparently burns 126 calories per hour (incidentally, that works out to 1/5 of a Big Mac, my fast food-eating friends). Being a nominally unsuccessful writer, then, has its perks, if one is interested in shedding a few pounds. Still, I think it would be more advisable to be a successful writer with a good exercise regime. Nevertheless, some things take their sweet-ass time in coming to fruition, and for the moment I can’t force the whole of the editing world to discover me at once. It wouldn’t be polite.
Having said all of that in perhaps seven or eight gratuitously too many words, the point is this: If I didn’t get all flustered about clicking “send” each and every time I communicate with an editor (and I do), perhaps that would take a bit of the fun out of it. On the other hand, all of this pining is a little distracting to say the least. Coming back to that first hand, I am thrilled at the thought of somebody reading my work and liking it. Even more so than I am by omnivores raving about my culinary skills. Even more than I like being told I’m pretty. Even more than I like being right in an argument. And – for those of you who don’t know where I’m from – that’s huge. But that thrill comes at a price, which is exacted in my sweat and tears and upset tummy (which is sort of preferable to blood, if a little less romantic). Once more to the second hand (confused?) – at least in the consumer magazine article pitching world, the most standard response is no response. Which isn’t, if you think about it, very nice, really. More importantly, it greatly exacerbates the anxiety.
Like it or not – and sometimes I do, while at others I find myself staring at the walls and wishing we didn’t rent if only so that I could bang my head repeatedly against them without worrying about the impact upon our deposit – it is what it is. And I’m certainly in no position to start talking about changing the rules of a game I’m not even half-way sure yet how to play. So I’ll keep on typin’…and hopefully you lot’ll keep on readin’…virtual kisses all ’round.