Just Block Me.

Listen, I’ve said it on Facebook, and I’ve said it on Twitter, and I’m pretty sure I mentioned it at least once in this blog, but you had to block me. You see, there are people I follow on social media that are not necessarily MY people. They’re the people of those I love- former friends, ex’s of all sorts, employers gone awry- those are the people who I do not block. Ergo, you have to block me.

First, I will tell you why I won’t block you, and then I will explain why you should block me. See, I will continue to follow you, not because I necessarily care for your well-being, although I can say with confidence most of the people I am speaking of are folks that I called friend at one point. What I do care about is your influence on people who remain dear to my heart. Here’s one super vague situation: my sister has a person who over the past year has been trying to violate the boundary that she has set to preserve her emotional health. This human follows me on all the socials, even likes to interact sometimes. I don’t block them, because I am petty.

Usually, people have a lot of trouble admitting their flaws, but I’ve gotten pretty good at it over the years, given immense amounts of therapy and introspective thought. I have no problem telling you the things I need to work on, and me holding the grudge on behalf of others is one of those things. Although, we are talking about my sister here, so I will probably go to the grave with this one. I’m fine with it, truly.

Anyway, I don’t block anyone I want to keep an eye on. Know thy enemy, and all that jazz. Which is why people really need to block me.  Don’t make me hold a grudge against you! If our lives no longer make a Venn diagram because of a person that we mutually know, feel free to drop me like a hot potato! Because I will absolutely report back every stupid or mean or idiotic thing I see you do on social media. It is a flaw, I am working on it, and I am asking you to help me. No, ex-boyfriend of my good friend, you do not want me to see the new tattoo or car or haircut you got. No, former boss of more than one person I care about, I do not need to know about your new job that is a clear step down from your previous one. And for the love of god, former friend of sister, accept the damn break up, because every time you like my shit, I immediately let her know. I am not an excellent person in this regard, and so I ask for your help. Block me. Help me to help you.

Anyway, this is just a semi-silly little post with something that’s been on my mind the past couple of days because of the aforementioned friend of sister. The point of it is that my fierce loyalty often gets me in trouble. But if I’m honest, I really don’t care. The people I love in life I love very hard, and I take threats to them as personal affronts to myself. If that’s a flaw, that’s one I’m not trying to change.

Rejected

One of my favorite books about writing is called On Writing.  Guess who wrote it?  Stephen, of course.  So naturally I adore it and have read it thrice.

Now, everything Mr. King says is not law.  It’s not my bible, anymore than Elements of Style or my college writer’s handbook are, but it adds to the scripture of my writing beliefs, and it tells me amusing tales of my favorite author. 

One of the stories I like is that he got a nail and stuck it to his wall, and then put every rejection slip he received onto the nail.  Eventually he had to upgrade to a spike.  I am thinking of Stephen’s spike this morning, as I scroll though Twitter and see several people discussing their number of rejections.

Here’s what I do:

I have a Word file in which I log every submission.  When I get a rejection, I go back and italicize the entry.  If I get an acceptance, I make it bold.  Now, I have been keeping this log since I started submitting things in 2018, so it’s a little long.  Thing is though, I really have no idea how many rejections I have received.  And I don’t care to know.

I feel like knowing exactly how many times someone has said “nope, not you,” would be incredibly stressful.  I mean, I could go back and count, but I don’t want to.  I could also count my acceptances, but I don’t do that either.  What I like to do, though, is save my best acceptances.  I have four or five that really made me smile.  My first short story acceptance will always stay with me: “I thought this would be a cliched, POV experiment,” he said, “I was wrong.” 

There are some great rejections I have gotten, too.  The ones along the lines of “we’re sorry, we loved it, we ran out of room, submit again,” are my favorites.  Some editors really take the time to send good rejections, and those are the journals and mags I want to submit to again. 

As I’ve written before, I handle rejection better than the average person, likely because of my theater background.  So, when I get a rejection, even the form-letter sort, I move on from it rather quickly.  Italicize, and go.  Onto the next.  I suppose that’s why it is hard for me to wrap my head around the concept of keeping a running tally of rejections in your head.  Aren’t you stressed out?  Aren’t you anxious in every possible way?  I know I would be.

I went back and looked at my log for submissions of A Lovely Wreckage.  I submitted to 15 places.  Six said no thanks, one said yes, and the rest I withdrew.  Six nope’s to get the yes, and I know I lucked out there.  But some people?  200 no’s, still waiting on that yes.  How do you sleep at night with that knowledge in your head?!

Rejection is a huge part of the querying process, and I feel well prepared to deal with it, which is a new and interesting turn of events.  I do not focus on it, because that can weigh you down.  Just assume you weren’t a match…it’s like online dating.  So someone swiped left on you.  Big deal.  Plenty of fish in the sea, or poetry journals in the sea, as the case may be.

I guess my point is to not let the rejections become your focus, because it will throw you off your game.  If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that little is accomplished if you don’t believe in yourself.  If you do, eventually, they will, too.

Me and Jesus

Listen, I know everyone’s having a crap year, but I am just killing it, writer-style.

In March, I wrote a little poem.  It was for a contest for Poesia, and you had to take a line from another poem and start your poem with that line.  The other poem was Sophie Robinson’s “Art in America.”  I chose the line “Honestly, I am sick of helping Jesus count the days…”

I won the contest.

Afterwards, I was surfing though Pinterest one day looking for pins for my development board for my next project, when I saw an old quote I have always loved.  “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.”   This is how I felt about my little Jesus poem.  So, I went back.  I deleted the first line so as not to be a plagiarizer, and then started writing.  And I did not stop, for 12 pages.

But what to do with something too short to be a book and too long to be a regular submission?  Ask Twitter, of course.  Mention that you have just finished a long poem about smoking a joint with Jesus, and see who bites.  And when they do, and they did, send them the poem and wait.

Then, one day, the email.  I have an uncanny ability to know when I’m getting an acceptance.  I can tell before I even open it.  I’m a little bit psychic, which makes it very difficult to surprise me.  I will admit I knew it was an acceptance before I clicked it open, I just didn’t know for what.

Me and Jesus on a Tuesday Afternoon.

That is the title of my poem, which Pen and Anvil Press will soon be offering in their chapbook catalogue.  “Delightful” and “poignant,” she called it.  I would use those words as well.

I rarely love something I write, but I loved this guy.  I wrote it for my aunt Ka, who passed away several years ago, and I hope that if she is in her heaven, she can read it and understand me as the person I am now.  I wrote it because I am a lapsed Catholic, but Jesus is still my homeboy. 

Anyhoo, I have been added to the P&A queue and am awaiting further details.  I have no other information at the moment, just the knowledge that my not-so-little poem is going somewhere special. And plenty of joy over the fact that I LIKE what I wrote.  Genuinely 100% like it. 

So rare, I tell you.