Posts Tagged ‘imperfection’

Submit A Story!

April 29, 2015

So I did.

And then I forgot that I had.

Then I got a nice little note saying, hey, we got your story and we’re interested, but so many projects!

But we like it.

We’ll keep in touch.

And what do you know.

He kept in touch.

I received the following missive this morning after I hopped off my bike and stretched out my legs before starting my very busy shift today at work (swimming lessons, t-ball practice, potty training, cooking–wild Alaskan Salmon anyone?) and let out a little whoop when I read it.

Hi Carmen. Your post is scheduled to go up a week from today on Tales From The Playa. Thanks again for writing.

)'(

Jon Mitchell | @ablaze

managing editor, Burning Man

So cool.

I’m going to be published on the Burning Man blog!

I’m excited.

I had sent the story in last June.

I was thinking about that and wondered, what the hell was I doing last June that out of nowhere I decided to send the Burning Man blog a story.

Oh.

Yeah.

Damn.

I had just had my severe ankle sprain.

The one that way laid me for weeks and still, yes still, hurts on the occasion.

Small aside.

I feel like I am rehabbing my entire body.

My knees hurt, my ankle hurts, my shoulder hurts, all injuries sustained while working or getting to and from work.

Even the spraining my ankle was in conjunction with work–I was anxious about having enough time to commute to work in the morning and I had a double scheduled that day and wanted to take my scooter in rather than ride my bicycle.

I decided to gas it up, feeling like since I was tight on time, might as well do it now before I need to worry about it in the morning and I got frustrated kick starting it, it was cold and didn’t want to start, and I went too fast (story of my life) and bam!

Sprained my ankle so severely that ten almost eleven months later, it’s still not completely healed.

I’ve been doing stretches, ankle strengthening exercises, hip strengthening exercises (damn they hurt), and rolling out my back and shoulder every night on the yoga roller when I get home from work.

My creaky old body needs a hot tub soak.

End aside.

I was laid up.

I was trying to keep busy.

I got a Jack Rabbit Speaks e-mail–the official newsletter of the Burning Man Organization–and I must have read one of the Tales from the Playa and I got a wild hair up my ass and decided to submit.

I think my exact thought was something like, I can write better than that!

And maybe I will.

And I put my money where my mouth was and submitted.

And then didn’t hear back until after the event sometime, mid-September of last year.

I had completely forgotten I had submitted.

Jon had sent me a very sweet message about how the story mattered to him and he wanted me to know that it was still in his bailiwick and forgive the tardiness in regards to it.

Sure thing!

Thanks for keeping me posted.

Then I forgot about it again.

I am sure the process of getting pieces in is far more arduous than I can imagine.

I am sure everyone has a great Burning Man story they just have to tell and then they decide to and well, maybe the story is great!

But.

Maybe, the writing, not so much.

I cannot imagine how many bad blog pieces the staff on the editorial team has to read.

I suspect it’s the same with every one who has anything to do with publishing.

There are few of them and many, many, many of us, with our stories and words and art and ideas, and hey, what about me?

Don’t you want to know about my story?

This one time at Burning Man.

I coasted a good bit of the day on the steam from the e-mail message.

It was really nice to think about.

I’m going to be published on a blog independent of mine.

I have a few other times and now I get to have another piece out there.

Then just as I got close to the end of my day at work, I did what I had been telling myself all day long not to do.

I started to read the submission.

“Oh shit!”

I thought.

This is ass.

Do I really swear that much?

Fuck.

Maybe I do.

Oh God.

I wrote what?

No.

That’s horrible.

ARGH.

Insert ego here.

Then smash it all to smithereens.

I put it out there and I let go of the results and when I actually got the results I wanted, to have a story on the website, I might have changed my tune.

Like.

Let me fine tune the sucker some more.

I had the same reaction when I got my first short story published in the Paris Journal of Spoken Word–The Bastille.

I was really happy about my submission.

Happier still when I found out they wanted it and they were going to publish it.

Not so happy when I finally read it in print.

Oh God.

I wrote that?

It sucks.

It is not good.

It could be so much better.

I am my own worst critic.

And yes, I stopped reading my story.

I just said, no.

I have better things to do than mentally masturbate about what I could have changed in the piece before submitting it.

I am not perfect.

Nor are my blogs or my stories or my poems or the books that I have written but not published.

Not a one of them holds up to my inner, fiercest, critic.

They all suck.

But.

I keep writing anyway.

I have to.

That’s just the way it goes.

“I’ve been an artist for the last 41 years,” he said to me last night as the cake was being passed around, small slivers of chocolate cake from Sweet Inspirations, I could smell how rich it was and had been a tiny bit nauseated when the cake was unveiled for the anniversary celebration.

He patted me arm.

“Good for you for doing what you’re doing with graduate school, you’re going to be a great therapist, but don’t forget your art, and don’t give up on it, it’ll happen when it’s suppose to happen.”

He smiled, gave me a hug, and walked out the door.

Who the hell was that?

I had never met him before and it was like God just sent a little angel to give me a hug.

Thanks man.

And then the e-mail today.

It was nice.

Affirming.

Lovely really.

And my defect of character–perfection–can just take a time out tonight.

The story is not the best, but it’s sweet and endearing, and true and I am grateful I get to share it.

Grateful it will be published.

Flaws and all.

Imperfectly.

Perfect.

Just like me.

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