Friday, October 18, 2019

Taking It on the Chin

“Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.”

Writers and actors are no strangers to rejection. If writers submit their work for publication fairly often, chances are they receive rejection letters "fairly often." But bless our literate hearts, we just keep writing. In a general audition, actors are given three minutes to stand on a bare stage and perform a monolog that will prove they are brilliantly talented. But actors have a ready excuse when not accepted for a role. They can tell themselves they chose the wrong monolog, the wrong playwright’s work, the wrong material. Writers don’t have a fall guy - we are the material. A material that has to be resilient, able to take it on the chin.

When I was very young, twenty something, I scheduled a first date with a man I’d met at a party. He must have made an impression on me because I spent my whole paycheck on a new outfit for our date. We were to meet at a restaurant. I sat at a table for two for two hours in that restaurant knowing the waiter probably felt somewhat sorry for me. Anyone who has been stood up knows some of what I felt as I walked home alone. Yet, that sort of rejection is a piece of cake compared to that of an editor or a director.

The courage of writers who write fearlessly certainly isn’t the same as a firefighter rushing into a burning building. We enter another edifice - the one marked truthfulness. Whether disguised in novels or apparent in non-fiction, genuineness is easily recognizable, and almost always appreciated. A poet I respect and admire told me a new poem of mine is “brave.” How good to hear that. I want to write brave poems – and silly ones because most of us are often brave and sometimes, thankfully, silly.

I have a refrigerator pin that says, “Work Hard ~ Stay Humble.” I intend to.

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