Last week I received a completely expected rejection.
Normally, there’d be those people who tell me that expecting to fail is bad: the only way in which work is ever likely to succeed is when I believe in it first. The biggest issue, without doubt right now, is finding method by which that faith can exist within me with confidence. Fiction in my remit isn’t good enough: narratives are inconsistent, often incoherent and ultimately self-indulgent. What needs to happen is a complete readjustment of attitude and outlook.
More importantly, belief in that particular part of myself has to be significantly readdressed.
How do I know this? It is the success in other forms of writing which highlights these shortcomings. This isn’t about winning contests either: poetry is now a more comfortable, capable means by which emotion and direction can be communicated. For a very long time it was impossible to adequately express extremely deep-seated issues. Poetry became a tool used to clear away obstructions, allowing access to places I was scared to go to otherwise. Words in that form have, quite literally, set me free.
All that time I’ve been writing blogs and fiction regardless of quality or often coherence. This release was undoubtedly valuable but not nearly as beneficial as poetry remains. Think of it as being stuck in a completely alien environment with no verbal or literal means of communicating with the outside world. Most sane people won’t start learning the language using long, complex sentences. You begin with single words: food, love, tree, bird, basic things that are then strung together.
This is learning to draw and learning the basics of proportion and perspective as an artist; being able to boil an egg, chop up ingredients consistently before training as a professional cook. All of this experience, decades of writing, has never been quite enough to make a vital leap of capability. Knowing this is the reason I’ve always said a novel will be published, but never presented anything capable (or finished) to do so.
Self has held back because it was just too frightened of making that vital jump, until now.
The answer, I’ve decided, is probably to start at the beginning. All the novels that are sitting, half done on my hard drive don’t hold the answers to the question I’m looking for. I need to start again, using the tools I now possess, to write differently. Recycling a fractured past has begun to do more harm than good. What is needed to move forward is something better, different and largely unknown. This is not the time for rigid structure and direction.
This is about writing what I really am, seeing where that new-found ability takes me.