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Act 5, Scene 1: Irene's Twilight Zone

Act 5, Scene 1: Irene’s Twilight Zone See whole poem, "The Main Show," and index of scenes.  (Spotlight opens on the lobby of the theater.  Characters who remain in the lobby enter the theater, which remains dark.  Joan the nurse tells the tour guide to also go in, and the narrator hangs back awhile.) Joan: Go ahead in. I’ll stay with my patient.Anyway, this is a family…See More
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Flat Rock history via a road

Travelling back in time on a Flat Rock roadby Rob Neufeld             If you walk the one mile length of North Highland Lake Road in Flat Rock, you step nearly 200 years into the past.            At the east end, the 21st century reigns.  Fronting six-lane Spartanburg Highway, a super-Ingles sits above a bog; and a CVS store faces an Octopus Garden smoke shop, a chiropractor, a cell phone provider, and a six-lane avenue to I-26 a mile away .            Neither Ingles nor CVS carries the big…See More
Apr 8, 2019

Am I the only writer around here who sits down, pulls up the most painful part of my psyche, engages whatever skills I have to shape my words, find the meaning in them, work hard to make sure that meaning is to some degree universally relevant, the writing is to some degree entertaining and uplifting -- and then won't try to get it out there for people to read?


I'm really asking you.  I know not everybody finds writing to be like peeling off skin to bare the soul, making oneself vulnerable to anybody's reaction, whether thoughtful or not.  But does anybody reading this relate to what I'm saying?


I've just spent years writing a novel, and my original intention was to garner some attention for it on the heels of my first novel, which was published in 2009.  Instead, I crouch in the corner, cringe in the dark, find all kinds of ways to kill time rather than get the results of my hard work in front of people who might actually appreciate it.


Well, I know that my problem is just fear of rejection, and maybe some fear of acceptance too.  I need to "man up" and go through the motions of writing query letters, submitting samples, and all the rest.  I need to get over it, whatever it is.  I'm proud of the work I've done; I know it's not right for just any publisher; I know, in fact, that it will be hard to find a publisher for work such as mine, but that there probably is one, somewhere, who will appreciate what I've done and know how and to whom to market it.  But I also know that every rejection is like a bullet to my gut, and therefore I'm stalling.


Tell me you understand.  Tell me you, too, have never found a way to ease the hurt from rejection and, more importantly, the insult of obtuse lack of comprehension.  And that's on top of never being really sure in the first place that you've succeeded in writing anything that can be understood!


Are you out there?  Or am I cringing here in my little corner of the universe all alone?



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Comment by Mary A. Berger on June 29, 2011 at 9:36pm
Hey Jerry - Sure, we all know how it feels to get those #@$!! rejections.  I've found that keeping several things out in circulation makes it a little easier to cope.  When one reject comes back from some editor (who doesn't know what he's missing!) I pout for ten minutes, then remember all the other things in circulation.  Right now, my second indie book in the Mattie's Mysteries Series is nearly ready to go, so I'm wrapped up in it.  Maybe you'd like to visit Mattie's blog: Mattie'  If nothing else, it might give you a few laughs!  Ever considered going indie publishing with your second book?  Best of luck in this crazy, wild, and wonderful world of publishing!  Mary A. Berger
Comment by Jerry Stubblefield on June 23, 2011 at 12:26pm

Thank you so much for your reply, Caralyn.  It just happens that I read your post a few days ago and also followed the link to your story, which I enjoyed.  (Been meaning to get some frozen rabbit at the store but keep forgetting and end up with chicken instead.)  You are so right about the rejection we writers experience and how to just deal with it.  I know it won't surprise you when I say I KNOW, I KNOW, but that doesn't help!  Seriously, I wrote my blog post in a state of frustration, just to get it off my chest and hope someone like you would respond.  I thank you, thank you and thank you!


Yesterday I was feeling low due to having received, not a rejection, but some discouraging (in a way) information from a funding source.  Then, as though through some Divine plan, later in the day I got a very nice email from a man who had found my novel in his local library up in Illinois, and he obviously understood, appreciated and enjoyed my book -- even said he was going to recommend it to everyone he knows.  After that email, was I still down in the dumps?  Heck no!  So, I just offer this as an example of the way we writers are so at the mercy of our egos and the whims of the universe as it seems to unfold so willy nilly.


I do belong to a writers group (though I haven't been attending much of late) and yes, I studied at the Great Smokies program last year and had a wonderful experience there and will probably do it again when the timing is right for me.  Elizabeth Lutyens led the class and she is, quite simply, a miracle.


It's a rainy day -- very few excuses not to sit down and get to work.  Thanks again for your encouragement, Caralyn.  Hope to see you around. 

Comment by Caralyn Davis on June 23, 2011 at 11:43am

Hi Jerry:


Of course you're not alone! The submission process has always been difficult for writers, and it has gotten even more depression-inducing in the current economic climate when publishers of all stripes are being extremely careful about taking chances with new writers or unusual books.


I haven't graduated to novels, but I received 120-plus rejections before I got a well-respected online literary journal to publish one of my short stories. (And in the week since, I've gotten eight or so additional rejections.) Every single rejection floors me, but my one acceptance allows me to believe I'm publishable vs. delusional, so I can keep that in the back of my mind as the flood of rejections continues while I try for publication #2 in a print journal.


You've published a novel before, so you know you're publishable and you're already a step ahead.


Do you belong to a writing group? If not, find one to join or take a workshop style class with the Great Smokies Writing Program or another fine educational organization in WNC. When I started with the GSWP almost three years ago, the teacher said my first submission was rambling and a bit of a mess (while praising my characterizations), and I went home and sobbed. Now I use the praise to sustain me through rejections and the constructive criticism to improve my writing.


The point: Getting that feedback can help toughen you up to deal with rejection horrors.


Another option is to look at rejections as a challenge. Pick a number and say, "I'm going to research my market and submit this to the best places I can find. If I get XX rejections, I'll cobble my broken heart back together, sit down with my novel, and find at least three ways to make it better." Then start the next round of submissions, and if another XX rejections occur, start the process again.


As writers we are obviously close to our work, and a mass of rejections can be an opportunity to take a step back and re-evaluate our writing with a more critical eye.


Rejections are personal to writers, but they aren't to agents, publishers and literary journals. To them, it's daily routine. There is no intent to insult. So think of rejections as part of the writing process, and start submitting!

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