walking backwards

by Shannon

girl talk pyrotechnics

This is the kind of thing I have been failing to post about.

It seems appropriate, in lieu of my recent vow to post at least once a week, every weekend, that I would spend the first post returning to the roots of what I had originally intended this blog to be. But for once I have something to say only a few days later. Remember my quip about impending rejection letters? Well, one down, three to go.

I should probably take this time to both thank and apologize to Melissa Dominic, who was online at the time and bore the brunt of the graceless process that is my reaction to criticism. (Seriously, you are brilliant and talented and deserve none of my bullshit.) Honestly, I’m not all bad, really, but I’m the kind of person who, when presented with a spoonful of sugar, regards the impending medicine with increased suspicion. It takes me a little while to talk myself around to being a rational person about things.

Anyway, the short version is that I managed to snag some decent criticism, which I desperately need and am grateful for, even though I don’t really like to admit it. And in the process of admitting it, I was (with assistance) also forced to admit more clearly where I actually stand–and don’t stand–in writing. The sum of it? That I pretty much have no business submitting anything. Which is ok, I think. I’m pretty sure. I’m getting there, okay?

See, the thing is, some time ago, my friend and I came to an unpleasant realization together; i.e. that neither of us were anywhere near as good as we thought we were, and boy did we think we were hot shit. It was a kind of revelation, if you have revelations of pits opening up beneath you and swallowing you whole, because with it included all of the effort we had not put forth and all of the assistance and criticism we could have received had we not been so full together with “they just don’t get us” mentality. Since then, it’s something I have been wrestling with. It’s like, Was I ever good? Am I now? Do I even have talent within me, or should I just enjoy what other people do and forget about it? mixed with a healthy dose of god damn it, I AM good, and none of you can tell me I’m not, and you’re stupid if you don’t see it.

It’s not really very productive at all.

In the end, it’s kind of like starting over. Like a really, really severe edit. When you cut out everything that doesn’t work, sometimes what doesn’t work far outweighs what does, and you have to rebuild everything from the charred and skeletal ruins that are left behind. Only, I’m a person too, so I remember the feeling and the delusions of grandeur and accomplishment as well as feeling their keen absence within me. And I have my pride. So the process of tearing myself apart and rebuilding myself in a better way is less like editing and more like walking backwards, my blind path strewn with fragments of my former self and all of the fiction about myself that, over the years, I have taught myself to believe.

Anyway, I have three more submissions out, and as soon as I hear back from them, I think I’ll clean this blog up and then throw some of them on here. I need to put them to rest, and I guess this is the best way to do that.