AKA rejection no. 4 for January and 2017.
Something I am proud of and rather enjoy, that I would like to share with anyone feeling a bit stuck, or like they're doing a bit too well on their rejection goals for the year...
FROM ONE WRITER
TO ANOTHER -
To the gender-transient and non-conforming. To the slighted and the small, those with dark skin and an accent, with two legs or less, with a mind that screams and a mouth that doesn't - this letter is for you.
The night before the world ended, you had hope for a better future and a curiously poetic past. That night you didn't care who saw you wear your favourite shirt with the hole in it that moths had eaten. That night you had your friends and your answers and your plans. That night you watched the world burn and your life along with it and found that sleeping or fucking or reading or crying did nothing at all to forestall the sunrise on a new future of absolute uncertainty.
You. Check your narcissism. Check your nihilism and your pessimism and take a deep breath of reality. Coffee smells the same and still burns your tongue when you drink it too fast and that's clue enough that some things haven't changed. You didn't know the future the night before the world ended just as you didn't know it when it did. What's changed is not as much as you think, so this letter is for you.
Breathe out - holding your breath will only stretch your lungs to a point where you will never do anything but sigh, trying to fill them. Breathe out and in again and do what you did the night before - because that story you started is still unfinished with your characters halfway through a scene you just left them in and they deserve better than that and you know it.
Think of them. Think of them because they are you. In a world that's more frightening today than it was the day before they are the epitome of you. They haven't changed. You haven't changed. What flowed through your very soul will still support you and keep you, raise you and push you on and on and on for more and more and more because that is the biggest fxxk you we can give to a world that pretends not to hear us.
Because it does hear us. If it can't hear it will read, if it can't read it will feel it in the pounding of our feet on the earth that's let us share it's pulse. You will not be silent now, kid, I’ll not stand for it. You will not end now because the worst has only happened and the best can only happen and the pages won't fill themselves so you will fill them. Because the night before the world ended it never once occurred to you to stop and the day after it did you have no excuse to.
Look, you knew that this was crawling over your skin before you understood what it even was; tugging at the tiny hairs on your arms and at the back of your neck, getting tangled at the corners of your lips, like growing pains. Every kid got them and you weren’t any different.
Because everyone had nights when they damn near wanted to rip their skin off; because change was never a pleasant thing, change was a thing with claws and sinew, it was a thing which roared and confused you, it was a thing that didn’t give itself over to domestication yet refused to leave you alone, and you weren’t immune to that either. Not really.
But listen, there’s growing pains and then there’s you. There’s dirty teeth and dreams of scraped knees that never heal, there’s rough hair against your legs and between them and your feet are suddenly the length of your arm from elbow to wrist and very little makes sense. You’re Alice in Urbanland and everything smells like piss and gasoline and that’s not fair but that’s your lot. I get that, I hate it too.
But there’s growing pains and then there’s you; there’s the feeling of words becoming bullets becoming bones, there’s the feeling of steel taking over where the marrow was once because you don’t need it anymore, there’s the way your heart starts ticking that you know you have to reset it biannually to run with the rest of them. There’s that. That’s you. That’s the you that matters.
Because believe me, kid, that ticking will drive you fxxking mad until you learn to type to its metronome, and that smell will make you dizzy until you learn to process it properly and take the elements apart bit by bit by bit to fuel your pulsing lungs. And that won’t make any bloody sense until you stop washing the ink from your fingers and the oil out of your hair and let your body write itself to the shape it needs to be.
You’re a writer now. You’re not immune to growing pains but that doesn’t mean that you have to give a lick about what they think or write how they read and it doesn’t mean you have to grow as they do and become what they become and it doesn’t mean that you can’t build your own language letter by letter and note by note ‘til it makes sense to someone else who’s been looking for it all their life. It means the opposite, and it matters that much more.
That’s what keeps that jug of blood filled, in the end. So go earn it.
(For the record, I am actually very proud of myself thus far, it's only the first third of the month and I am feeling energized, not held back. I hope you are too!)