Gap Filling

So here’s the thing.

Because you – I – call myself ‘a writer’ (because it sounds better, when I’m asked what I do, than saying ‘erm … ahhhhm … err … Well I’m sort of a stay at home mum (whose part time mothering habit leaves her in an empty nest for most of the year)… and wife … and I write a bit’.) I keep writing despite the rejections.

But, even in age and after a huge, huge amount of practice (at receiving rejections and trying not to weep for the futility of it all) dismissals of pitches/submissions/essays still sting. The email comes in, you note the sender, register the subject, allow your heart to soar by the teeniest degree, and then you read the message and the bottom falls out of your world. For a bit. Just a bit. An hour. An afternoon. A day. Depending on the effort involved, the enthusiasm, the hope. Yesterday a computer generated rejection to inform me that my submission had not made the longlist – and no, the fact there were hundreds of entries, all of sterling standard did not help; the attached tips on How to Write Better only made it worse. The day before an emphatic No from an editor based on sample pieces he’d requested and I’d carefully, carefully honed and sent.

I often question the hours spent crafting words, conjuring up ideas to send to editors. I’ve sent thousands over the years. Most have been ignored. Or turned down. A few have led to stories that never ran. The occasional one morphed as ecstatic bylined publication. But it is, on balance,  in the cold light of day, when one calculates effort in/profit out, mostly a waste of time.  (But Time is something I can afford to fritter a little).

And I love language. I read a cleverly fashioned phrase on a page and I savour it as you would an exquisite taste on your tongue. I roll it around and dissect it and notice that each word has been carefully chosen to colour the expression more vividly so that it sits perfectly: a line of art that delivers much more than just neatly arranged, properly punctuated, letters.

Finding precisely the right word for a given slot is a joy. (I can spend an inordinate amount of my TooMuchTime on 500 words).

Like finding the piece you’ve been looking for to fill a gap in a jigsaw.

And so I suppose that’s why I keep doing it? Writing. Calling myself A Writer?

I’m filling gaps.

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7 Responses to “Gap Filling”

  1. Addy Says:

    Well, I appreciate what you write and I think those publishers are bonkers not to accept your work. Even I can see you have a gift for words that encapsulate a feeling or a place so well. One day you will be discovered for the beautiful writer you are. So there!

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      Thank you Addy. It can be so frustrating. and demoralizing. But my blog is often a BandAid. Because I can write what I want and how I like here. And comments from readers help to endorse that: that it’s ok to write what and how I like. There is great liberation to be had in articulating with ones own voice and not through the prism of prescribed media … if that makes sense. So thank you.

  2. Sabine Says:

    … and you do this most impressively and beautifully, filling those gaps.

  3. Leilani Lee Says:

    I get it… I surely do. Yours is the blog I read when I want to self-flagellate, when I want an example of what elegant writing. The writing I generate on my blog does not even hold a candle to the beautiful prose you write, and yet it takes for-ev-er — sometimes an hour or more — to get even the shortest post “just right.” And it never is.

  4. speedsailor2014 Says:

    I love your writing and insights. I hope you can ignore the taste-free editors and their audiences.
    Pearls before swine!

  5. alison Says:

    I resonate so much with this. I call myself a writer but I am stay at home mum whose children have all gone to school as well. And I have piles of rejections in my inbox and even more ignored words. It’s deflating. Again and again. So I must come out and say again that YOUR words…they move me. They are beautiful and true and full of the kind of writing I wish I could do. Keep them coming. Keep writing and keep calling yourself a writer.

  6. reddirtlattes Says:

    I love language as well. And I really love reading yours.

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