Posts Tagged ‘how to combat shame’

I received several email rejection notices recently.

Some of my soliloquies and anti-fables — ones I had sent out for consideration — were rejected by literary magazines of some repute.

This stung, but it was also bracing, a little bit, in that way that serves me notice that I’m out there, risking and scraping for a voice. I’m still offering, after all this time, some thin, cracked, painted shards of myself to the world.

I know a little bit of literary publication success, and I also know literary disappointment. Sometimes in the moments of disappointment I fear not getting enough opportunity to contribute to the public discourse about life. I badly want to share —  proverbs, soliloquies, fables, stories, essays, sermons, lessons and any other genre that fits me —  in the conversation about reality and what is astonishingly mysterious.

Rejection is not fun. “Not accepted” is reality for many of us, and it can have damning effects, flushing us with shame, the shame of not being enough, of not being good enough.

I suffer this, along with the rest of the race, the I’m-not-enough experience of life, but not so much anymore.

I am finally beginning to do what I do because I cannot, not do it, not because it pleases someone else. I read and write because I want to, and because I have to, for myself, to stay sane, and to stay in tune with the muses within. Words are life, they are bread to me, even when they don’t provide bread. Words in themselves, as I discover them, as they uniquely proceed from me, are enough motivation for more words.

Last year I finished up either watching or reading all of Shakespeare’s plays. I couldn’t not! Shakespeare is one of my muses. No one gets it better than the shaker. He shakes and spears his plays veneers, and out falls human nature, human motivation, passion, eloquence, dark evil and bright good with a beautiful clatter and clamor that I cannot ignore.

Shakespeare inspires me to keep shaking the linguistic tree, until the literary fruit falls — or I do.

Here is the deal. We face down “not enough” with “enough.”  I may not get enough recognition for my own writing, but I will write enough anyway. I will pour out my words in public talks, lessons, private conversations, blogs and micro-blogs.

All artists throwing paint, words, song or food might do well come to this, to not do what we do because we are receiving some kind of affirmation, but because we are giving a gift, to ourselves first and then to the universe, and because we can’t, not.

The doing of the creative things we were made to do is a reward in itself. There is no shame in being expressive. The artistry is often enough to maintain the art.

Rejection —  it’s just a splash in my face as I throw myself down the crazy, wild, hilariously steep slope of the next thing I have to say.