A personalized rejection is sometimes better than a bland acceptance, or so I tell myself, bleary eyed and cycloptically staring at this morning’s batch of overnight notifications.
I don’t remember going to sleep. I remember being unable to, I remember the day’s worry becoming something hard, like packed clay, after being pushed aside for hours, reemerging at night when the effort of pushing it back exceeds what energies I have left.
I remember self-medicating, of flipping the switch so that instead of fighting the worry I turned the field near vertical so that the worry slid away, the hard lump seemingly gone.
I remember waking up the first time, when Mary left, my alarm waking both of us, then the second, when the alarm told us she had to get ready for work. Then nothing. I slept dreamlessly for five more hours, through my own alarm, through the entirety of the morning, to here.
My day begins with a less paltry assignment than previously given, some seven thousand words to edit rather than five hundred. That’s good. An actual day’s pay instead of a payout short of the price of an espresso at most shops.
The rejection letter, while not good, does indicate interest in my writing, more so even than an acceptance. One’s piece might be accepted or rejected for any number of reasons, but most often one never knows what they might be. I’d rather have had an acceptance with an explanation, but any explanation, especially one that encourages me to keep submitting, is something. It gives me hope the piece might find a home somewhere else. It chips away, slightly, at the building fear between each acceptance that I am not a writer, but a layabout who got lucky a handful of times.
I’ve got other things on my mind.
The season’s second set of snows are forecast and I imagine myself alone in a whitened field slowly covered over as winter changes to to spring through fall and back to winter as I become the jagged rock weathering, losing its letters to dust as eventually even the skies go black and the longest winter sets in and steals away motion from the stars until I and they and even time cease to be anything other than the powdered grey of immovable sameness.
For several years I’ve allowed myself to forget that even rocks turn to dust, allowed seeming normality to trick me into a belief in that as truth of substance. The appearance of health is no more than that, appearance, and under any smooth stream lie a thousand jagged points to mock the apparent serenity above.
I am no well. This is truth of it, and I now must deal with the consequences.
There is a direct path to my explanation, one simpler and clearer than what I’ve written, wherein I pronounce my ailment and move on, but that would not be the truth of the matter. For my own understanding, I’ve to approach the matter obliquely. The vaguery isn’t there for it’s own sake, I’m not being deliberately obtuse. I haven’t had the time to digest, I don’t yet know how to decide the reality of this. I do believe that the longer I’ve had to interpret, and the closer I get to the concrete, the more clear my writing will become.
I hope you’ll stick with me through the Labyrinth.