Tennessee

Wednesday and halfway through another week. I am almost finished with the revision of Chapter Three, and am hoping to power through it and Chapter Four today, with a side helping of Chapter Five and Six tomorrow; at this rate–should it persist–I will finish the revision in about three weeks.

I suspect, however, that will not turn out to be the case.

Look!  A squirrel!

Not having to be at the office early today feels really strange; like should be there already and I am somehow loafing around this morning. I only have a partial day tomorrow, so I am going to try to get the weekend errands done before heading into the office tomorrow so this weekend I can simply focusing on writing and editing and revising.

It sounds good in theory, at any rate. In a worst case scenario, I am hoping to finish reading Circe this weekend at the very least. And maybe even work a little bit on “Never Kiss a Stranger,” which is turning into a novella. Which is fine; it’s too much story for a short story and not enough story for a novel; so I guess I am going to just somehow manage to turn it into a novella and sell it myself on Amazon, which I of course did with “Quiet Desperation.” I got rejected from a major market yesterday, which I was expecting, and I have to say–some of the major markets have the most kind form rejection letters.  I like to think that the kinder rejection form letter means my story was actually seriously read and considered before they decided against it; that helps lessen the sting. Since it was done through Submittable, they easily could have simply let the rejected label let me know, but they had the decency to email me as well; which I greatly appreciated.

A rejection used to always send me into a tizzy or downward spiral; but I also am very well aware that I am not the greatest short story writer out there–and there are a lot of terrific short story writers out there–and I am not really sure what I need to learn/experience/know to take me to a higher level as a short story writer. I am pretty much flying blind with them, to be honest; and sometimes I do manage to get it right. I know my subject matter can be a bit disconcerting; the story that was rejected was about someone raised in a cult who escaped from it and has built a life for himself outside of it…only to have paranoia set in when he thinks he recognizes someone from the cult at the grocery store. I think it’s a good story and I did a good job with it; but trying to find a market for it with a gay main character…well, you never can be completely sure that didn’t play a part in it being rejected, to be honest.

You see, there’s the thing when you’re a writer from a marginalized group, the thing the straight cisgender white writers never quite get when we talk about own voices and diversity; we never are sure if our work just wasn’t good enough for the particular market (or publisher) and we need to work harder, or if the marginalized voice/character automatically disqualifies the work. And for the record, that doesn’t even mean bigotry on the part of anyone reading the work to decide whether to publish it or not. Inherent bias can be so systemic and subconscious that perfectly lovely people who don’t think they have a bias at all actually do but are completely unaware of it; which is why the conversation always makes them uncomfortable.

All marginalized voices are asking is that our work be judged on its merits and values. This business is hard and crazy enough without having to always have that awful voice whispering in the back of your mind it’s because you wrote about a gay man/Latina woman/black man/transwoman.

All due respect, straight white cisgender writers don’t have those concerns. (Although it can be very strongly argued that straight white cisgender women also are in that same boat.)

And now, back to the spice mines.

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