Remember the 80s, Bob? @ 07:34 am
The only movie I've ever liked Nick Nolte in was "The Good Thief." He plays a drug-addled, washed out jewel thief who gets talked into a casino heist by a police officer/former rival. There's a scene where the cop is trying to explain the details of the heist, and he asks Nolte's character, "Do you remember the 80s, Bob?" To which Nolte replies, "No."
Well, do you remember when the Internet was new? Do you remember why emoticons got invented, Bob? I do. It was because sometimes a singular line of text in a reply is hard to parce. The words are there, but the intent behind them is really uncertain. Was that sarcasm? Is she dissing me? Or is that genuine concern coming off as sarcasm? So emoticons got added so you could get more of a clue. Ah! A winky face, she's teasing me!
Somedays, I'm pretty sure I'm the person they invented emoticons FOR. I also apparently need a beta reader for real life (tm). Someone who could look over my shoulder at Tweets and status updates and blog posts and tell me if the words on the screen match my intentions.
Because I tend to get in trouble when I talk about my failings as a writer. Apparently, once you reach a certain level of professionalism, you're never, ever supposed to admit defeat. You're never supposed to agree that a rejection might have felt deserved or that you're not entirely happy with the finished product you sent off to your short story editor (who subsequentally published it.) Apparently, when you do that, you're dissing someone other than yourself. You're not a writer struggling to do her best, but instead some kind of horrible person who's hoodwinking editors into accepting less than perfect work and then crowing about it on the Internet.
For instance, I found out several years ago that I'm on someone's sh*t list because, on the day that an anthology came out, I told people to run out and buy a million copies and also talked about my struggles with short stories in general and in particular about the one that I sent off to the editor of said anthology. Apparently, my self-deprection/admission of imperfection was seen as a call out to all readers everywhere to NOT BUY THIS ANTHOLOGY BECAUSE CLEARLY IT'S FULL OF CRAP.
To this day, I don't understand how the one this makes people read the other. Shawn has explained it to me over and over again, but somehow I keep making the same mistake. I need an emoticon that says, "This is about me and is no reflection on you."
So yeah, I'm facing what I consider the strangest fall-out for having posted about being rejected yesterday (actually not the LJ post I ended up friend-locking below on Shawn's advice, but an even more innocuous status on Facebook.) Obviously, I can't go into details because SOMEONE SOMEWHERE WILL TAKE OFFENSE, but color me baffled. I thought that writers routinely got rejected and that it was all just a part of our lives and that we were free to talk about them, get a little comfort for the sting, and move on. But, apparently saying that what you really want to do is go back over your submission and make it better is some kind of slap to the face of all parties involved...
I really don't get it.
But, if you read yesterday's post (or saw my Facebook status), I'd love your opinion. Is there a coded message in there that says I was secretly trying to send my second-best effort, and that I gleefully hoodwinked my agent, the editor in question, and the entire universe with deviousness? Does admitting that you wish you had a chance to rework a submission now that it's been rejected and you have a sense of what might have gone wrong mean that you sent something off HOPING TO FAIL?
Shawn says she can see it. Maybe you can too. She's explained it a thousand times, but maybe you'll have the magic turn of phrase that will make me say, "Ah, I get it now."
And is there ever a way to talk about what we struggle with as writers that's not going to come off like this? Because I actually always apreciated hearing that writers "above" me on the professional ladder were having troubles not unlike my own. Steven King still gets rejections? Awesome. Stuff like that can, IMHO, be the sort of thing that keeps a writer at any level plugging away--knowing we're all in this together, doing our best, sometimes coming up short, but reworking things and going again. I want to be able to say that. But, every time I do, I get in the WEIRDEST kind of trouble.