Skip to main content

back off!

i've been absent a few days because i've been dusting off manuscripts and preparing for a couple of projects. yesterday, while doing so, i started to comb through a short story i'd written a while back, just to make sure it was perfect. i mean, i figured it was perfect, because i'd submitted it for publication some time ago, although it was [sob!] rejected.

this is when i had one of the most horrifying experiences a writer can have. it wasn't perfect at all. it wasn't even a little bit perfect. in fact, it was so un-perfect that pieces of it were difficult to follow if you didn't live in my brain, which few people do and none of them are publishers. i gnashed my teeth and wondered what the hell i was thinking and committed myself, once again, to a rule i try to stick by, but occasionally forget:

never submit anything that has only recently been completed.

i have this rule because, when i'm excited to have finished something, i usually want to find somewhere to send it right away. my best option would be to just send it to an unwitting friend and wait for them to get back to me to explain the parts that confused or irritated them, but sometimes, i'll get a big head and fire it off to a publisher because damn i'm good. and i might be good. but i'm almost never good enough when i finish something and then give it a couple of quick edits [as a brief perusal of this blog will surely reveal, since most of the posts here are "raw"].

when i'm still in that "i finished something and i am as a god" phase of self-delusion, reading through a piece is tricky. all the ideas are basically still flowing, so it's never a problem for me to make sense of what i'm saying. what i really need to do is step away from the manuscript and wait until the inspiration gets a little fuzzy. that's when i'll be able to notice things like "this sentence has no verb". or when i'll realise that my cutesy/ radical phrasing reads as semi-literate for someone who isn't already well-known for her daring style. [before you can make a habit of breaking all the rules, you do have to convince people that you understand them to begin with.]

so i spent much of last night and this morning weeding through the story and being a little scared of it, because it had so cleverly hidden its faults from me before. this is the long-term effect of editing failures: you start to doubt that you will ever be able to find all the problems and that there are always disasters hidden in your words. i'm getting anxious just thinking about all the embarrassing mistakes that are currently lurking on my computer, snickering as they play hide and seek with my over-eager eyes. damn those tricky word-fairies and their tortuous games!

so, to the editor who had to read my deeply flawed submission and who rightly rejected it, i apologise. you've probably forgotten about it amid heaps of word-fairy-tainted manuscripts you received before and since. i hang my head in shame before you.

and if you're reading this, i'm sure you've already noticed mistakes. but this is my messy space, and it always will be. i thank you for persevering with me anyway.

image source

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

dreamspeak

ok, so i've been lax about posting here. i apologise. there are reasons. i don't know if they'ree good reasons, but they include:


i've had a lot of work to do, which is nice because i'm a freelancer and things tend to slow down in the summer, so the more work i get now, the less i have to worry about later [in theory].i started watching the handmaid's tale. i was a little hesitant because i didn't actually like the novel very much; i found it heavy-handed and predictable. the series relies on the novel for about 80% of its first season plot but i nevertheless find it spellbinding. where i felt that the novel beat readers with its politics, the series does a better job of connecting with the humanity in the midst of politics. i'm dithering on starting season two because i am a serial binger and once i know damn well that starting the second season will soon consign me to the horrors of having to wait a week between episodes. i don't know if i can han…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the governmen…

mental health mondays :: separate and not equal

given the ubiquitousness of racial disparities in the united states, there's no reason why we should be surprised that they exist in mental health care. unlike a lot of other areas, the people in power have acknowledged the problem for decades. but the situation isn't getting any better. 
the united states surgeon general documented the differences between white and non-white mental health care back in 2001 so we can assume that it was already a known problem at that point. two years later, a presidential commission said the same damn thing and groups like the national association for mental health seized on this to develop guidelines on how to bridge the ethnic gap. from the turn of the century through 2007, the number of papers and publications talking about the mental health care gap spiked. the issue was viewed as being on par with obesity when it came to urgent problems.

starting in 2004, researchers undertook a massive project that involved the records of nearly a quart…