It’s wet and cold here in San Francisco, 50º F. Raised in Ireland, I’m no stranger to wet and cold. It’s less than 30º F in parts of Ireland right now, and in recent weeks the country has endured devastating flash floods.
I remember as a child I would hang out the laundry in our back garden, on our red-rope line, to dry. Clothes that often grew soggier from the downpours and dirty-all-over-again from the smog and the ashes from chimneys, that weighed-down on that clothesline until they were mired in the dirt of the garden below or were whipped off by the high winds and scattered. Clothes that stiffened and cracked, spray-painted with frost. And all that was in summer :-). I have acclimated and softened, evidently, because this much gentler wet and cold of San Francisco make me miserable.
I admit the ongoing battery of rejection these days also adds to my misery. I submit little anymore, aside from a handful of older, longer stories that I have worked incredibly hard on and that I believe in. I hope I can find a handful of editors to also believe in them EVENTUALLY. Responses are sloooooow. My writer’s inbox averages two emails a day now. Time was … I can’t seem to focus on any new work these days either.
I also admit that I have stopped reporting my rejections (and my last two acceptances) to Duotrope. I have never used Duotrope to track my submissions/responses and suddenly it seems a little futile and self-indulgent to post an acceptance just to see “Congratulations! Ethel Rohan.” I also now can’t bring myself to report all my rejections because it only compounds my misery. Am I bad? I think this is me breaking-up with Duotrope. I feel more break-ups coming on.
Here’s a quote from Dave Eggers's excellent book Zeitoun, a non-fiction account of the harrowing experiences of a New Orleans contractor, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, and his family during and after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The sense of transcendence in this book, and this following quote in particular, have stayed with me, protect me from the many elements, comfort me like a mother’s hug:
“If he can picture it, it can be. This has been the pattern of his life: ludicrous dreams followed by hours and days and years of work and then a reality surpassing his wildest hopes and expectation.
And so why should this be any different?”