As one door opens for me another has shut. Slammed shut with a resounding bang and my toe in it. Ouch.
Well, that’s how it felt to me at first. Let me explain. Just as my blog is taking off and I’m starting to feel more hopeful about achieving my blogging goals, other areas of my writing have been dissed, trashed and trodden underfoot.
For the past couple of months I’ve been paying a literary mentor in the UK to assess my manuscripts. I have two manuscripts: a completed 70,000 word mainstream fiction and an embryonic travel memoir.
Sadly, the manuscript mentoring and assessment was a painful experience during which time I nodded, smiled, tried to look thoughtful and said:
“I know what you mean,” while biting back tears and wondering if a root canal is this painful.
Then, after licking my wounds I’d email the mentor saying things like:
“How lovely to chat with you on Skype this morning. I just wanted to put you in touch with so and so who is also very important in the publishing world and lives close to you in Hampshire. All the best!”
What I was actually thinking was more along these lines.
“I wanted a writer’s mentor, not a writer’s torturer. You wicked, pipe-smoking, hirsute, pot-bellied, bandy-legged troll. I wish I’d never shown you my writing. Isn’t your job to encourage me in my work, not to trash my dreams and make a mockery of two years of my life?
Does it make you feel better to call my writing “flat” an obvious synonym for boring, and help make up for the low self-esteem you’re suffering due to your bean-sized penis?”
Well, you get the idea. I was upset and in need of an outlet for that emotion.
But I’m of English stock. We keep a stiff upper lip. We bottle up our emotions until they explode one day leaving our psyche’s scattered willy nilly around the garden.
So I didn’t mention any of this to anyone. It’s a matter of pride too. For a year I’ve been telling people I’m writing a book.
“Nothing will come of it,” I said. But now, when they ask about it, I’ll have to tell them it sucked.
I am deflated. My balloon has been popped and I lie on the floor discarded, useless. My writing party is well and truly over.
Other people have read my manuscripts. Strangely they’ve been much more flattering and said they’d like to read more. They came up with plenty of constructive criticism and ideas of improvements in a way that left me keen to keep working on it.
But they were my friends. This is a professional. Maybe he’s being cruel to be kind.
I don’t need it though.
Still, all is not lost. Tonight I will be fashioning a doll out of playdough and adorning it with the grey hair that clung to my returned manuscript. I’ve had some prior success in the voodoo doll area. So much so that I vowed never to indulge in it again.
But I think this is a good reason to get back into it. A fine and worthy one. All I have to do now is work out where to put the pin.
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Photo credit: Memorial of Russian physicist, Dr. Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov by D B King.