I’m quite angry right now. It might not necessarily manifest in the manner which is true for other people, but there is no denying that lots of stuff that used to be a mere irritation has crossed the border into ‘nope, that’s bad.’ This energy would normally be considered as detrimental and damaging, but not here at IoW HQ. It’s fuelling some new and interesting projects, plus poetry I am very proud of.
Except, of course, that’s just my opinion. We all know what that means.
It doesn’t matter whether I like it or not. Poetry is about being unique and special but accessible and understandable. Unless someone holds up a piece of your work to proclaim it a triumph, your opinion is just that, and nothing else. This is a world where the creative acceptance of your peers is a harder ask on most days than winning the lottery or travelling to the Moon. Satisfaction, therefore, must ultimately come from the journey.
It is no wonder I am angry. I have a right to be aggrieved that submission after submission is politely and often bluntly rejected. People won’t give you individual feedback not just because of those hundreds of other failed applications… being told why you don’t fit someone else’s idea of what’s ‘good’ has always been a hiding to nothing. The best submissions are undoubtedly when someone at least tries to throw you a clue at what the common mistakes were. They are very, VERY rare.
The rest, sadly, is frustrating silence.
So, how do you ever know you’re improving? I could take a £1000, 9 week online course to be told as much, but it still won’t guarantee me success. It might, however, gain me a much-needed networking opportunity with someone who takes a liking to me. Let’s just hope for my sake it’s simply friendly and not someone deciding we could be more than just mates, because that’s happened to me before and frankly, it’s scary.
There is no magic feather, or lucky break. Those of us out here in the fields, trying to make things work on our own, just have to keep doing the work, whilst yelling at clouds in the most productive manner possible. Anger therefore becomes less and less of a damaging consequence of persistent failure and rejection. Accelerant is always useful, after all… just be careful where it gets thrown.
I have no fear any more of rejection, or indeed of my voice not being heard. I know it is, in multiple ways, across continents. My anger at injustice and political stupidity is creating what I genuinely believe is better work than any previously made. Every time pieces are knocked down we both come back stronger and more determined to be heard and listened to. It’s not a case of if I get noticed, but when.
The problem this mindset presents however, that many consider me arrogant, would once have stopped me dead in my tracks. I know what I am. If people take offense at that it’s not my issue, but theirs. I choose what to hashtag, or highlight or retweet with a very specific goal in mind. This is not their journey to either dictate or undermine, and that will always be the triumph to savour.
This is me, knowing who I really am for the first time in 53 years.