Weather is a strange thing, especially in the Chicago area, but I don’t think I’ve ever recalled a time where it felt so absolutely autumn sweater weather, and yet the temperature was actually around 80 degrees and humid. It messes with my head in an unpleasant way: I feel the need to curl up with some tea or hot cider, as I’m constantly putting on and taking off a long sleeved shirt. Half the windows are open, because, while the breeze is cool, the air is really warm and uncomfortable. It’s been a weird sort of weather limbo around here, and the same goes for the week as a whole.
I’ve been getting fewer hours at work, for the most part, which is great for my writing work, although a little less great on the wallet. Unfortunately, there seems to be a chasm growing between the two: the more time I get to write and realize how much I love doing that, the less time I want to spend at my other job, because it’s just so repetitive and unfulfilling at this point. However, it does serve well as a reminder to keep trying, no matter what, and maybe, just maybe, I really can start dedicating all my time to writing, or at least even less time to the rat race.
Anyway, it’s Monday, so here’s a look at the week passed and the week ahead:
Reading: The long streak of not finishing a book has been broken with Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove, which was filled with so many weird, quirky stories that are right up my alley. It reminded me of the first time I read Sheila Heti’s work, these crazy little stories that were plucked out of the most random things but resonated with all the things I like and find interesting. This week, I’ll definitely be finishing Elizabeth Peter’s Night Train to Memphis (finally!), and I’ve started Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. I’ve read it before, but a radio advertisement reminded me of how it might be a pretty significant book to read right now: a totalitarian demagogue dictator winds up being elected as the President of the United States, leaving to wonder how in the hell we got to the point to allow this to happen, how we all claimed that “it can’t happen here!” but it does. Now why does that sound familiar?
Writing: It’s been a rejection-heavy week, too, although I did get in a few book sales, so that helps a little. Still, adding five rejections to my total felt like a little bit of a blow to my confidence, especially as the high of my Saturday Evening Post publication dwindled down. At this point, I’m at 37 rejections; with 39 stories currently out in the ether, there’s a good chance I’ll make it to 50 by the end of the year. Which is half of 100 Rejections a Year challenge, in a span of four months. Which is less than half a year. Yeah, I think at this rate, I’m going to have no problem at all hitting that 100 mark next year when I start over in January.
The real key here is to remember the successes, and that can sometimes be a difficult thing with this business. The rejections are many, they are quick and sharp and sometimes overwhelming, while the acceptances are fewer and number and they seem more fleeting. But October was and is a great month for me, even with all the rejections. There was “Sleepwalker”‘s appearance in Potter’s Field 6, I was published by the freaking Saturday Evening Post, and I’ll have a story popping up on Noise Medium soon. So there have been successes, and they have been great accomplishments. It’s important to remember that and strive toward the next one, rather than focus on the failures, though I’ve been really, really good at those lately.
World Unknown Review has been helping with that a lot, too. Last night I got the chance to just sit and pour through a bunch of this year’s submissions, and I’ll have the opportunity to do the same tonight, and I’m really looking forward to it. While my Writer Self is over there, flailing and worrying and doubting herself, my Editor Self got a nice boost as I marveled over how cool it is to be able to read so many wonderful stories by so many talented writers. I’m so proud of WUR and what it stands for and it’s such a great feeling contributing to the literary landscape on both sides of the fence. And it makes me realize that there’s so many wonderful stories out there that don’t get read, and then I realize that some of those stories are probably mine, and while they’re not getting published now, they will some day, in some capacity. And I’m glad I can help get some of those stories out for other people, even if in some small way.
There’s still time to submit stories to the World Unknown Review, too. You can do so here until October 31st. I always love the dizzying influx of submissions right before deadline, but it’ll be here before you know it!
Although I doubt I’ll make it to the deadline, this week’s story is a circus-inspired piece with this anthology from Azoth Kemp Publishing, although I really should focus on finishing up my potential submission for The First Line. I’m also giving more thought to my NaNoWriMo project, the top contenders being my “Kala” inspired book or potentially attempting one of 26 lipograms I would like to write one day. Because that’s just what I need, is to make a challenge I’ve never won even more difficult by turning it into a constrained writing exercise. But sometimes I feel I do work better if I pidgeonhole myself in with weird rules and restrictions.
Other: I’ve started to wonder if my weird mood and general dissatisfaction has been because I haven’t had many opportunities for walks lately. The weather, as I said at the top of the post, has been bizarre, and the timing just hasn’t worked out. I kind of want to get used to not getting out there, because I know it’ll be near impossible during winter, but, at the same time, I get a little guilty feeling that I’m not taking advantage of the few days we have left. But I’m still getting things done, so it’s not wasted time. Last week was my monthly lady time, too, so I’m also chalking that up to the feelings of despondency that seemed to rule the roost.
Plus, we got a new shoe rack shelf-thing for by the apartment door, and it’s really cute and helps clear up the clutter that is the shoes I never want to put away.
Later this week, I’m also going to a Brand New concert up in Milwaukee. It’s my boyfriend’s favorite band, and his brother got us tickets for his upcoming birthday. I’ve never really been into the band itself, but he’s been working hard to indoctrinate me, and I’m pretty excited, because I’ve never really been much of a concert goer, either. I’ve also never been to Milwaukee, so there’s another new and exciting thing. In fact, the only time I’ve even been to Wisconsin is to go to the Bristol Renaissance Faire, which is right on the border, so that doesn’t count.
That’s it for this week’s recap. I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead of them, and keep your fingers crossed for some good news in my inbox. My one acceptance since August 15th is feeling really lonely with all those rejections on the other side!