I. Sending Off
Just recently, for the first time I've felt ready to send some writing out, for possible publication.
In the past, when I've thought about submitting something to be judged, inner defenses have roused themselves to send troops of sharp-teethed antibodies into my bloodstream, where they battled and defeated any idea of acting on such a risky idea.
Upping the "just do it" quotient simply upped the antibodies, until it was Rambo VIII in there.
So, I've never sent anything out.
Anything in print with my name on it got that way because friends or family facilitated it, not me.
But just lately, I haven't felt so anxious at the idea of rejection slips. Blogging more than four years now has helped. The practice, the encouragement.
Probably what helps most is that usually publication is met with... nothing.
I find this very comforting.
There's no need to worry so much what people will think about my writing, when mostly they think nothing.
Or they don't tell me, anyway.
There's just the one gatekeeper to face: the editor. And since I've worked in publishing for nine years now, I know that editors are mostly English majors exasperated by too much bad writing, not dragons. (Although the two might be related.)
I don't know how to send stuff off, so I asked Deanna, who does this regularly. She sent me a PDF listing places that publish essays. They even pay money. (I could send the list to you, if you want. E-mail me.)
So far, so good.
I'll see how far I can get with this process without unleashing the inner Green Berets who think risking rejection is opening the gates to the barbarians.
II. Asking for Help
Since some anxiety does, of course, attend this step, who can I call up for help?
Tomorrow, August 28, is the feast day of Saint Augustine, one of history's least fearful writers. Maybe he'd help, though I don't really want to be a thumper like he became.
Better is the Hindu Remover of Obstacles and Patron Saint of Writers, Ganesh(a).
He broke off the tip of one of his tusks to write the Mahabharata:
"Poets have told it before, poets are telling it now, other poets shall tell this history on earth in the future."
(The Book of the Beginning)
_________________________And then, there's Thomas Merton.ABOVE: Thomas Merton's photo of his worktable at the hermitage. Via.
I always find his prayer for the wobbly encouraging:
“My lord God, I have no idea where I am going.--Thomas Merton
I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."