Failure is a great teacher!

FB_IMG_1568591690827

The Unintended Consequences of Story

bullying.jpg

I heard from a woman who asked me to share a story with young people. The story was my own, The Healer’s Daughter, from How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party.

She said the story was valuable and every young person who has ever bullied or been bullied needs to read it.

Bullying is a part of the story, and for the little girl in the story, it’s a very big part – as it was for any and all of us who were on the wrong side of the mean kids.

She felt, I believe, it would also help bullies to gain some sort of understanding. Maybe, maybe not. But I appreciated her feedback on what some people feel is a minor part of the story.

I appreciate the feedback and that my story touched her so much she feels the need to share it.

Much appreciated.

Our stories have power. And they have unintended consequences. I’m happy that mine leaned toward positive.

One bad rejection…

Doesn’t spoil the whole bunch.

rejectionI usually receive rejections that are quite nice. “We really liked it, but…” or “Please submit again…”

I asked someone more experienced than I and was told that these are usually genuine and the editor, whether or not your work was accepted, liked the work.

I have been told that it didn’t quite fit their needs or that there was some disagreement between editors, which I again take as reasonably good rejects.

Once in awhile I get a rejection which makes me wonder what story they actually read.

I submitted to one journal who called for the topic of Deception, “Friends, Lovers, and Liars.” It’s a story about a woman who even deceives herself as she she comments on other’s deceptions. I thought it was spot on. The editor, however, did not and wrote, “I’m not sure why you submitted this. This doesn’t at all fit our call…” He wen ton to make me believe that I had triggered something.

The story is about a woman who has an affair. I have a feeling, the story struck a nerve. Ouch. Sorry. (The story has been published twice since then. – You can find it here.)

I recently received another long and involved rejection, although I don’t think because it acted as a trigger.  But the rejection was nearly as long as the story. (haha – I’m exaggerating, of course.)  But it stated things like “promises and doesn’t deliver,” “narrative too thin.”

Again, I wondered – had this editor read MY story? Or did he/she confuse it with another.  This has happened once before.

I received a rejection – thanks, but no thanks, and then another the next day: “Thanks for submitting, we love it and would like to publish it!

If this happened face to face, I would nod and smile. I do something similar through email – “Great, thanks!”

Someone asked me if I respond to negative rejections with commentary. I don’t usually. I think I have once, but the editor was so nice about it. He gave me commentary, and then still asked me to submit again! Him, I thanked.

If these were feedback type of rejections, I might thank them. But I feel that they are not. It’s someone who is feeling his/her power and thinks they know everything.

I don’t respond to people like that.  There is always to say no nicely. There is always away to give someone feedback – even negative – and be nice about it. Edit

psych cover for kdp

ors should be experts on that.

By the way – that story with the “too thin narrative” was accepted to a number of journals within a week of sending it out. I’d barely gotten to sending out the withdraw notices when a number of others had sent acceptances – my apologies to those journals. I’ll do it the same day from now on!

That story, too, appears in my latest book of short stories – How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party.

One negative rejection should not upset a writer. They are to be expected. Do not let it take away all the nice rejections and don’t let it come near your brilliant acceptances!

 

The Healing Power of Writing

I’m not sure if all people begin to heal from writing, but it does happen. Once a person gives their stories air, light, voice – they begin to heal from whatever was hurting and holding them back.

healing.jpgMany years ago, when I was in school. A woman showed up late to class. She could barely walk, used a cane, struggled to a seat and didn’t speak for half the semester. Then, one day, she spoke.

Maybe it’s important to tell you about the class. It was a women’s studies class. The instructor gave voice through stories, studies, lectures, and guest speakers to women’s issues, including what we call today the #metoo movement.

For most of the semester the beautiful woman, long hair, tight lipped, rarely smiled, spoke even less, barely moved and every little moment seemed to drop into depths of pain.

Then one day, she spoke up. She said, about ten years earlier she had been raped by her husband’s best friend. If you tell, he warned her, I’ll tell your husband that came on to me and it was consensual. Afraid of not being believed, afraid of losing her husband and her son, she remained quiet, believing she could push down the shame and pain.

The class was stunned into silence that the woman could share such a secret with us. The instructor hugged her and thanked her for being brave enough to share with us.

None of us knew the power of her statements.

The following week she moved with much more ease, and by the end of the month she showed up without the cane.

She shared that since she’d let that secret out, she’d been feeling better. Her mysterious mobility issues, the serious pain that had riddled her body for years, was dissipating.

I believe, she told the class, it was the pain of that secret that was locking into my own body.

She felt freed.

Writers often talk about needing to write. Stories need to be told. Secrets need to be shared. There’s a healing power for the teller and the listeners.

I actually began this blog today to talk about my story “The Healer” in How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party. But this isn’t that story. There are many times of healing in that book, but this story wasn’t mine. It was hers. But it taught me something about healing and releasing stories which might hurt us or hold us back.

Release Day

psych cover for kdp

These might be some of the best stories I’ve ever written – even if I do say so myself.

Malcom Gladwell has a theory – it takes 10,000 hours to perfect one’s craft. Well, I think, perhaps I’ve hit 50,000, maybe 100,000.

Beyond that – one learns, one grows wiser with age; hopefully, that is what you’ll read in these stories. Wisdom. Empathy. Healing.

Available now. on amazon and kindle. 

Find out how to throw a psychic a surprise party.