Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Another Moment of Panic

SO sometimes I think I can submit things to publishers.

I'm sure I could. It would be easy. Now-a-days it is mostly just copy & paste, copy & paste, copy & paste, send, send, send. Put your name + 'Submission' in the subject line, write a goddamned query that outlines the story and the main character and lays out themes that are focal to the plot, and please also list any credentials that you may have that we say we aren't going to be influenced by when we read this.

I've got this problem. I Love-hate writing. (Love is capitalized, so that's the bigger half.) I want to be able to tell the damn story I want to tell. That's it. I want to be able to put it into words so that someone else can pick it up, read the damn thing, and then look at me with understanding and appreciation because they could see what I saw. I just want to share.

Writing is flipping hard. And Editing makes me want to die. Shoot me in the foot, club me over the head and toss me off the boat, die. What made perfect sense before becomes this shameful, slobbering mess of garbled nonsense drooling all over itself for attention. It's desperate, sloppy, half crippled, mangled by the elements, with blood trickling down its face from an open head wound that is causing severe memory loss and dementia.

Just being created in the first place seems to turn all of my stories into traumatized war zone survivors.

I end up looking at them and just freeze. Who ARE you!? Where the HELL is my story?! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH THEM!? I can't work with you, I barely KNOW you! What are you wearing? Where are your shoes? Wasn't your hair brown? Weren't you supposed to be funny and wacky? Where is your continuity? What the hell drugs are you on right now!?

SO. I look at the publishers and I get all excited. Not a lot are accepting submissions, you know. Writing is a very popular past-time. Lots of people are doing it. Everyone. In the world. Is submitting. Except me.

But then I think of the puss-oozing, infected injury that I have saved on my hard drive, and I run. LIKE HELL. That isn't what I want people to see! I want them to see what I see! Or rather, What I SAW. The glory, the awe, the emotions, the viscera, the inspiration, the glowing summer sunrise in a far off land.

They aren't finished. They aren't good enough to send out. SO I struggle, painfully, slowly, achingly, desperately to edit, chip and polish them. And underneath the ripped clothing I had so carefully laid out for them when this all began is more ripped, soiled clothing. And beneath that are muddy hand wraps and leg warmers, unecessary and too loud, and beneath that are mismatched socks, drawstring underwear, and then dirt. Dirt, dirt, dirt. Layers of the stuff. I have to scrape at it.

But I can hear it whimper when I scrape too hard. Or maybe thats me. And when I try to throw out the torn shirt, I realize it's their favorite, lucky shirt. It could be the only reason they survived. And maybe the dirty hand wraps are gifts from a dear friend they lost in the war. The legwarmers were the last remaining posession of a little girl it had saved from falling debris, and thus were given as thanks for my tale's heroic act.

And the story looks at me with such great sad eyes. And I know it blames me for the blood trickling down its face, dripping off of its chin. And the worst part, the absolute worst is that it wants me to fix it. It is begging for me to fix it. It howls at the moon, praying to be fixed. And I know that in order to fix it, I first have to tear it to pieces. I have to take the lucky shirt and patch it. I have to find the other matching socks. I have to run a load of wash, and throw the story into a boiling kettle to clear the filth. Then I have to perform surgery without anesthetic. I have to go in with sharpened pen and snip and stuff and clip and poke. I have to bear through the weeping and the screaming and the protests.

And then I can only hope that it survives.

.... No pressure though, I'll submit. Eventually. Sure. No pressure.

No pressure.