Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An Unexpected Interruption

I was going to post the second half of my New York week, in which Mr. W. is dragged through floor after floor of women's clothing, then subjected to trying on clothes for himself, but something happened this afternoon that changed my intentions.

I recieved a message through the writer's forum I belong to. It was a simple message, referring to a flash fiction piece I submitted for critique.

It is pertinent to mention at this point, that the last thing I submitted was a poem. A poem that was sumarily, and probably deservedly, ripped apart. The logical side of my brain understood the criticism, even appreciated the honest feed back. It was what I asked for, and truthfully, honesty is what I respect most. And every one has their opinion; I don't have to take it all personally or even dseriously. My reaction to the responses, however, was general depression, followed by severe questioning of my writerly desires. I need to be like a turtle and let things roll off my back, but this proved I'm not there yet.

So imagine my surprise, when I logged in a few hours ago and found a private message lauding my flash piece. The reader admitted that my writing had moved her to tears. Wow.

I have to explain that the story is abstract, blurring the line between prose and poetry. And yes, I wrote it purposely that way. Originally, I wrote it for a specific contest, with a certain judge in mind.

It was something I wrote out in an hour and a half. I spent many more on editing and tweaking, but in general, this work flowed. The text poured out of some special place in my head, filtered into my typing fingers, and appearing on the page. It was magical.

And I am extremely proud of it.

So imagine my fear and trepidation when I decided to post it on that site for suggestions and criticism. I have given it to friends and family to read and they gave it glowing reviews. What can I say? I'm insecure.

At first, there were no reactions, then a few comments on the language and how it blurred the line between metaphor and reality (the main characters are referred to as the Sun and the Moon). The two or three initial readers mainly mentioned reading it multiple times to understand the whole piece. I should mention it is a whopping 940 words.

This was weeks ago and nothing more was said. I should note, that the particular section of the forum is not one of the more popular. My small offering quietly huddled in the corner, waiting for someone else to wander by.

And wander they did, culminating in the message I received today. It is amazing how one negative comment affected my mood. This resoundingly positive one did the same. I feel vindicated, I feel humbled, and above all, I feel like a writer.

I have entered this piece into another contest. The results should be posted around the end of March. My fingers are crossed. But in a way, I feel like I've won.

I guess you'll have to wait for the next New York adventure, because I am off to appease my inner muse and write!

1 comment:

  1. It just seems wrong, doesn't it? How either a positive or a negative comment can affect our mood so drastically? No one should have that much power over us, and yet they totally do. I had the same experience a couple weeks ago. I sent a story I really liked to my agent and she replied that she thought I should just go with part of it. I could tell from her response that she didn't get it. But her lack of enthusiasm completely blighted a day on which I had felt so positive because I was pleased with the story and excited to send it to her. I emailed her back, explaining my rationale, expecting nothing, and a couple hours later she said, "Oh, that makes sense. I'll send it out and we'll see what the editor says." And then my day swung totally back the other way and I was on cloud nine because the story was going out. Completely nuts!!! Because the editor may take one look at it and say, "Nope, not for me!" And you know where I'll be then :)