Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hunger And Fear

A few years back we installed a swinging door between the kitchen and the living room. It's primary purpose was to keep our cats at bay while preparing food. And for several years it worked just fine.

Until we got Sundance, a leggy 4 pound female. Of all the cats in the house (including our 15 pound bruiser, Monster Cat) she is the only one who has conquered the spring-loaded hinges in the kitchen door, pushing through even while the door repeatedly squishes her.

At first I was afraid the other cats would watch her squeeze between the door and the jamb and they would do the same thing. In fact, one or two of them tried it, but as soon as the door started to squeeze in on them, they would wiggle a retreat. At first I was just amused that this tiny cat could (and would) do what none of the other larger cats can.

But the other day it hit me: there is a lesson to be learned here.

Sundance doesn't want to wait around for the bowls of cat food to be brought to her, she wants the good stuff I'm fixing for dinner and she wants it now! She is willing to risk the pinch of the door because she lets her (perceived) hunger outweigh her fear.

As a writer there is a lot of fear.
Fear that my ideas are stupid. Or that maybe they're brilliant but that my writing skills won't match the material I'm tackling. Fear that I will never finish the book. Fear that I won't know how to finish the book. Fear that no one else will like what I have to say. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure.
Fear that in the end this will be nothing more than a huge masturbatory waste of time.

I've spent a long time trying to get rid of my fears. I remind myself that I've sold stories in the past, I can do it again. I analyze my old work in order to improve (and show myself that I have already improved). I practice telling myself that one more rejection doesn't matter, it's only the eventual acceptance that's important.

In the end, the fear remains.

So does the hunger. And that, I realized, is why I've not given up. (And believe me, there have been a lot of moments, days and weeks when I really did think it was time to throw it all in and give up this idea of being a writer.) Because I want the good stuff and I want it now.

I'm afraid of the long hours of feeling like I'm etching each word in stone with a slightly undercooked carrot. I'm afraid of another rejection letter on a story I love. 
I'm afraid of someone I respect telling me what I write isn't good enough.

But I am hungry and that outweighs the fear.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Southern Gothic Now Available

(I should have posted this earlier in the week, but I've been scattered.)

Southern Gothic: New Tales of the South, an anthology that includes my own flash piece "Love Like Dysphoria" is now available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Google Play 

In addition to over 15 stories and poems the book features original artwork by Nathan Mark Phillips.