“You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free.”
Disclaimer: For those new writers following my blog and my blind stumbling through the minefield that is writing, make sure you read all the way to the end.
There comes a time when you question your place in things. Relationships, jobs, sports, just about anything you do, or will do, will come under the microscope. Perfection is a myth. Happiness is accepting what you have without question and knowing where it fails and where is succeeds.
Nowhere is that more evident than the arts or, for the intents of this article, writing. Where else would you subject yourself to the constant criticism, the abject failure without guidance of what you’ve done wrong, what you just haven’t done good enough or, just simply, that it wasn’t “what they were looking for”? In any other job, there would be only so much you could take before you said, enough was enough, on to greener pastures.
Lets face it, relationships are the only place we will face that kind of strife and yet continue on, and yet here I am looking at the industry and glancing at the door. The problem is, I like the thrill of writing too much. I keep turning the other cheek even though I know how much it will hurt. It’s like I have my own little peephole into a myriad of worlds. Upon initial peep, the worlds are mere pencil sketches. Black and white. The longer I look, the more colour and detail fill up the space. To put it in terms of my writing, the more flesh is added to the bones.
I know all writers go through moments of self-evaluation, or at least I think they should, in which they question their ability or their place in the grand machination that is the writing industry. They draw strength from those that have persevered through numerous rejection. Thing is I can’t help but relate the industry to Stephen Kings horror short, The Mangler. To me, the Mangler is a printing press.
Like the story, it chews up writers with reckless abandon, impervious to their plight or growth. It offers neither rhyme nor reason for its choices and yet we writers line-up around the block. We await our turn. The odds aren’t in our favour and skill sometimes has very little to do with the selection process. For every one that avoids The Mangler, 100 fall into its gaping maw.
We pop out the others side, lick our wounds and fall into place at the end of the line again. We are confidant that this time, is the time.
Why do we do it? The pay is terrible, the hours are long and the criticism harsh.
Why? Because words are our crack cocaine. We can’t get enough of them. Molding them into things, into people, into places. We mix them into colours so vivid they open our minds eye and we see them. They add texture, odour and sound to thin air. Some not pleasant but, if we do our job right, they feel real. We can grab the readers by their senses and pull them bodily into the book. We immerse them so deeply in the story that when it is over they emerge, gasping for air like a drowned swimmer.
That, right there, is why we suffer the flailing to our psyche. We endure the rejections that sting like a …. well, a lot. Rejections that rarely, if ever, help us grow our skills. No, that is something we have to do ourselves.
So while there are days that I desperately want to leave this lover, I can’t. It just keeps pulling me back in because next time, next time is the time. I can feel it.
Do you hear that, Mangler? Your time is coming.