Monday morning rolled over and gave me a shove and I got up to another rejection. This time it was from an Ezine that I spend many hours perusing, gazing in awe at their marvelousness. I’d given the Nanna mags a week off! I was let down feather-lightly with a nice letter, a bit of useful feedback and a pep talk …’just keep going!’ All lovely, yet still warranting a half hour sulk, a few tears and a chocolate biscuit. To cheer myself up I opted to attend my Daughter’s school musical evening, which in the blurb boasted an evening of Song! Dance! And playing of the instruments you pay extortionate amounts for your child to blow, pluck or strum, only to spend the whole year screaming up at the bedroom ‘put that fucking thing away! My ears are bleeding!’ so I wasn’t particularly hopeful. Still, off I went in full support of my little angel.
They tried hard, God love them all, they did. They ignored the audience, the eye rolling, the sniggers, a few snorts and one outright guffaw, and powered through. And then they had the last laugh. A student took to the stage and nearly blew my knickers off with a gorgeous rendition of ‘Nothing’ from ‘A Chorus Line’. Now, all who know me will concur, I am indeed a gay man trapped in a woman’s body, for my love of musical theatre knows no bounds. What, I ask is wrong with belting out show tunes whilst tramping round Tescos? So, I was in heaven. She was gorgeous but more importantly she whiplashed the audience into submission like Christian Grey on a brunettes butt. If any of you are not familiar with song, here’s a brief synopsis. Student joins an acting class, teacher is a dick, tells her she’s ‘nothing’, student is distraught , believes him for a bit, then gets a power surge, leaves class, joins another , becomes an actress, teacher dies, she feels ‘nothing’, all set to a jaunty melody. Point is, she shamed the audience. Our behaviour was unacceptable! Her message came across loud and clear……
Get your knockers out!
…of your life, that is.
As a writer there are so many articles to read about the importance of criticism. And sometimes the Scorpion sting of it can be harsh… but fair. My sister called me up to tell me to pull up my grammatical socks.
‘I’ve read your blog. Your grammar’s shit. Sort it out!’
‘But I write like I think’, I wailed, fast, without a filter. A rush of shite that tumbles out. ‘Well, don’t, idiot,’ was her sage advice.
And she was right. If I want to be taken seriously as a writer, it’s a key point. My gorgeous friend JoW reads my little tales and gently sorts it all out, but with such enthusiasm and encouragement I barely feel a thing. I have friends and family who read and I tell me they love my stuff and more importantly, my tutors guide me with a firm hand. And all of these are great.
But also on this path I’ve been brave enough to say, ‘I’m writing now.’ And there they were. The snorters, the sniggerers, the eye –rollers and certainly more than one outright guffaw. These are the knockers that are filled with glee when you fail, when they learn about your rejections, when you constantly say no, not yet, nothing published. But these are the knockers with no constructive criticism, no advice to give and the ones you need to omit from your life… Because they offer ‘nothing’. It’s a hard path and rejection is an integral part of it. I love feedback, being the needy princess that I am, but this week’s learning point has come across loud and clear. I will most definitely be…getting my knockers out.