My anxiety

…suggests that something has the potential to go Horribly Wrong before my story sees the public, and so I have told barely anyone (my husband and my mom, and of course, you, my invisible audience).

I believe this dates from a Formative Event in my past: when I was fifteen I wrote a fantasy novel. It was atrocious, but no more so than many things written by adults. A publishing house expressed an interest and I had my very first business lunch with two wonderful editors.

They declared bankruptcy not a week later.

I’m sure it wasn’t as simple as all that, but being fifteen, I felt like some kind of leper of doom. This feeling was dispelled when the editors recommended to me another house (who rejected me kindly, and did not declare bankruptcy, restoring my faith in my own smallness).

Why do I tell this story? Possibly to illustrate to myself the fact that I’ve always had a magical-thinking thing going on when it comes to my writing. Although I believe–strike that, I know–that I’m good, I feel that I also need omens, gods, runes, cards on my side; that anything that occurs around my writing is Fated and Strange; and that on days when I have something on submission, any number of rituals may affect the outcome.

Yeah. Nuts.

Apparently even when I have a perfectly nice acceptance note in my inbox I am not immune to this particular anxiety.

So, tomorrow, as I prepare to send off a different story for its first outing, I will be wearing my new red shoes and my silver thumb-ring, and I will offer the Friday toast of the Royal Navy: “A willing soul and sea room!”

And until then, I give you a cat and a bottle of absinthe.

2 thoughts on “My anxiety

  1. I used to be horribly superstitious, at least in my own articial ways. Forgot about it for quite a while in fact, but I used to think that I would only do well if I used a particular pen or wore a certain necklace that was somehow imbued with magical powers from the manufacturing plant in Hong Kong where it was produced.
    I don’t do much of that anymore, probably because the kind in me has been partially exorcised by people who continue to tell me that I need to grow up.
    Apparently, a lot of adults think that imagination, dreams and the desire to know one’s fate are the sole property of children…

  2. …or of crazy people, perhaps!

    There are no atheists in the foxholes, though, right? And if anything in writing is comparable to being in the foxholes, it’s this part…

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