At the moment I am rejoicing. I am excited. No, I'm thrilled. Wait for it...
I just received my first "rejection" from a literary magazine that I submitted a story to. Yes, you heard me. I am joyous. Why, you may ask? Well, for those of us who have been writing since the moment they could read, (a lot of writing takes place in the mind before the pen actually touches the page), it is only certain that publication is visible in the distant haze of our writing lives. It's a mere prospect. For those of us who are writers because we have to be, because our minds are continuously flooded with stories to the point of explosion without literary output, publication isn't necessarily the end goal. I already know that some of you, if you are writers, are frowning now, maybe growling, perhaps shaking your fists at your screens. But I must tell you, that I did not begin writing at a young age with hopes of getting published. And, no, this is not a pity party.
I have been studying literature and writing for over six years, which to some can seem like a lifetime to devote to such things. However, to others, it's obvious that I am only in my baby steps of writing. And you, the latter, are right. When I picked up my first novel in fourth grade, I marveled at how words became sentences, and sentences paragraphs, and paragraphs pages, and so forth. To me, it was like magic. I had entered a realm that seemed almost like a secret. It was so private. Just me, and my story. I devoured Antoine de Saint Exupéry's The Little Prince and discovered my hunger for literature. From that day forth, the writing began as I read avidly, trying to curb a hunger that became a monster. A monster that stayed with me for years, which made me major in English just so that I could keep reading. Soon, I became hungry again, but the books weren't filling my appetite. By chance, I signed up for a creative writing course during my sophomore year in college, as an elective. And as soon as I attached my pen to my pad, the stories came faster than I could write them down. And for the first time, I began to feel relief. The kind of relief a vocalist must feel when they hit that high pitch and hold it so that as the sound escapes them, their bodies and minds find comfort. I guess I can tell you that I've always felt joy in my writing life, but that would be a lie. It was painful! It had a hold of me, and I knew that it would never let me go. However, through the years, I have discovered the delight that artists feel when they create something they are truly proud of, and I do enjoy it very much. But don't get me wrong. It is hard work. It consumes me almost every minute of the day. My characters are with me always.
All this to say, that when I began to write, it was NEVER for publication. It was just who I was, and who I will always be.
However, I do believe that my work, over the years, has developed into stories worth telling. It's a scary time in a writer's life, to realize that they want their stories to actually be read. That is where I am now.
I am wholeheartedly rejoicing about my rejection today, because I was ready enough to attempt publication. Because someone, the editor, the publisher, the freelance graphic designer, the office assistant's five year old son, read my story.
I am delighted. I am patting my monster lovingly on the back. I am finally sharing.