For those who don’t know the definition of an oxymoron (emphasis on the “oxy”, not the “moron”), think of the terms jumbo shrimp or government intelligence.  It’s two words that don’t really go together because they have opposite meanings.

I’ve had a brush with one.  Yesterday I got a wonderful rejection.  Most of my friends now refer to them as R’s, so as to avoid the pain of admitting we’ve been rejected again.  Come on, ladies, grow up.  Let’s face it.  We’ve been turned down.  We also use the term D instead of deadline.  Personally I’d kill for a deadline.  And maybe a D.  But I digress.

Each of my rejections has gotten progressively better, and last night’s bordered on the “oooh, we’re { } this close to selling!” but didn’t quite close the deal.  I’ve heard some wonderful things about my writing in these rejections, things I dare believe I already knew and a couple things I didn’t, like my characterization is really good.  I thought that was one of my weak points, so I worked on it a lot but I didn’t have confidence to believe I’d succeeded in not writing cardboard characters.  If it weren’t for the “I don’t think this would work for us” part, I’d be tempted to frame this rejection. 

Needless to say, it sent me into an emotional spiral.  I polished off an entire bottle of Catawba by myself and spent 90 minutes IMing a critique buddy, whining and wining.  Halfway through the bottle I started thinking, “Maybe this just isn’t for me.  Maybe I’m always going to be { } this close and yet {    } this far.  Maybe it’s time to hang up the keyboard.”  And really, it would be easy to do.  Just tell the voices in my head to go pester someone else.  Ignore the stories that roll through my subconscious and go back to knitting and watching lousy sitcoms on Monday nights.  I could possibly make myself that brainless that I could exist my entire life like an automaton, not giving deeper consideration to the possibilities of what this song means, how that sunset looks, why just a few misplaced words can make me feel ecstatic or miserable.  Or both. 

I can’t do it.  As much as it feels like continual, interminal self-flagellation, I can’t give up my dream of being published, of being heard.  If I gave up, I wouldn’t have anything left to dream.  I’ve achieved so many of my dreams already; I’ve fallen in love, I’ve gotten married (twice), I’ve been pregnant and given birth, I’ve written a book (three in the last 2 years, more before that but they’re horrible), I’ve created things that will survive me.  It’s all what I wanted in my life, but this, this dream?  This is personal.  This is something that comes from deep inside my soul, screaming to get out.  I can’t quiet that voice, even when I want to. 

I can’t not dream.


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