“The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination, consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.” (Robert de Niro)
When I first read the above statement a repetitive rippling infiltrated into my mind. Among the equally anxious & feverish thoughts that fluttered in my electrically charged and conducted matter, two words hovered above the fluctuating stream of self-identification and wonder: surgical accuracy. However, after the initial pondering, when the estimative utterance had settled its reflection in the now sedate surface of my fluid consciousness, I had concluded it as disputable. (To me, I obviously sifted it through my intrinsic filters and interpreted it as a general -as it was meant, I assume- yet personal analysis) And not because it lacks consistency, but merely because is precariously assorted with an unnecessary and, I tend to believe, inapplicable annex.
Specifically, on a good day, in the mind of a writer happens quite the opposite. The brain happily frolics on Arcadian fields of catharsis, brought on by the explicit dissections, in writing, of the miserable demons that have tormented it during the bad days. Sure, the latter dominate the existence of a commited writer, as the chosen path of exploring one’s sinuous layers preceding the bare core, and its very mercurial essence, is strenuous and exhausting. However, the liberating sentiment is utterly incomparable. What more to desire than your burdens’ alleviation in a realm of metaphors and melodicity that preserves, not the pain, but the depth reached through it, for later instants when you pulsate solely for the unique treasure that we all gather in our passing? Memories, engraved not only as fragments of images and sensations on the animate walls of your heart’s chambers, but also as tangible (preferably handwritten) inscriptions on immaculate pages.
Of all the damaging (yet imperious, I deem, for distinguishable creative endeavors) factors succinctly or randomly enumerated by the empathetic actor, the inadequacy is the most unbearable. Because is the only one that can actually lead to self-sabotage. Acute peculiarity of character, idiosyncratic behavior, unblurred principles aso, reflected in writing (charged with limpid messages, not heavily elaborate or cryptic!), are hard to digest, and commonly have the disturbing quality/defect of constructing novel paths in brain and revealing unsuspected sides in heart, for the reader. And it is quite consuming, so reluctantly perceived. As a words-crafter, even though you primarily write for yourself, you do long for a sort of recognition, ideally in the literary sphere. And (seemingly) perpetual rejection can corrupt your thinking and deviate your wish to see your acquired-through-writing catharsis ignited in others. To renunciation. Not regarding writing, but sharing it -well, attempting to!- with others namely preoccupied by it.
What it’s to do about then? The simplest solution? A dose of rationality and perspective injected in constitutes a must every now and then. What does that mean? It means that, as writer, one should also scrutinize their predecessors’ biography too, not only their work. Gathering bouquets of literary rejections is a frequent occurrence for any grand or aspiring writer, you can easily realize it on a quick search, and it has always been so. Hence, one must concentrate on their scribbling, and comfort their desideratum of acclaim with rare and tiny yet valuable manifestations of appreciation. What would you notice firstly, on a hill all scattered with pale thorn bushes and only remotely adorned with a scarlet rose one? Uh-huh, the rose bush. That’s what a literary acceptance is. The thorn bushes, right, no need to explain this simile too, I guess.
Personally, yes, I choose to ignore my a-bit-over one hundred literary rejections. Well, I do linger over the feedback-embellished ones such as,
“I do want to say your poetry submission easily has some of the best diction I’ve ever encountered – and I’ve read so very many submissions – so kudos! What great words used throughout.”,
“Your work impressed the editorial staff with its intense language and vivid images.” and
“You are obviously a gifted poet, and I would welcome more from you in the future.”,
but proffering in some places your quite-close-to-best work and being refused is, at the end, unpleasant. Therefore, to keep my literary aspirations afloat and my creative labour prolific, I tenderly admire (when in need of keep struggling impetus) the precious yet delicate cassette in which I have enclosed four UK and USA publications and, my so-far peak, a poetry prize shortlisting at the University of Cambridge last year. This year? Haven’t reached its apogee yet, but, hey, only two thirds of it have passed…so, still ambitiously aiming to climb (or crawl?) to higher altitudes!
The creative healing
The healing requires a bittersweet
Medicine of obstinate will,
Accompanied by reliable blood army.
Not acquirable for the poor fellows infused
With autoimmune, obscurely originated, disloyalty.
It also demands time,
A blooming repetitiveness in whose monotony
To relish aspirations of salvation.
What more? A score
Of thawing attacks of malignity,
For the perfectionist ones dedicated to their soma.
Above all, the healing urges closure,
The slow carving of a scab to secure
A built-in flaw of frailty
Or a passing vulnerability.
The creative healing, unlike the clinical
Whose string of cyclic pangs
Has orderly been described above,
Is an utter opposite, a way whose thorny perception
Can only be dissected in annulment
By stabbing analysis throughout
The depth of its offal.
It is the stalking of ache,
Raw, not hypochondriacal or fake,
With no alleviation of pills,
For its final effect, rose-scented catharsis,
To be spilled all over within.