I’ve been feeling a bit like our bedraggled trees, the hornbeam that’s losing all its yellow leaves now, and the red stemmed dogwood in a similar situation as the stiff wind does its leaf-taking. News comes in from a lovely blog I’ve begun to follow, Your World in Your Hands, of another blogger whose homily for Monday (Begin-Again) she re-blogged to help cheer us up. I know I should be cheered, I know the leaves are still clinging on (to extend the metaphor) to the bitter end and the arrival of winter. I know this, on an intellectual level, I do. I know that Monday can be the beginning of a cheerful week.
On a feeling level, I’ve been bedraggled, tossed about with the wind and despairing. I contemplated ignoring any attempt at joy today, and spiralling into an existential gloom. But I finished finessing my short story yesterday, the longest short story I’ve ever attempted. My fiction veers between 1500 and 105000 words, after all. Nothing really in-between until this competition came up. But 3500 words feels about right for this piece. And yes, I’m delighted to have that now. Of course I am.
Actually, just writing these things seems to banish the autumnal tristesse for a while. Although I’m waiting for a very important critique on my new short story, I could, I could submit to the competition. GlobeSoup.net has an intriguing approach to submissions that I’ve not seen anywhere else. If, as so often happens, a writer should discover some glaring issue with their manuscript after submitting, they can re-submit a revision, with the same ticket, and only the latest submission will go forward to the judging panel. Just like that, the agency taking care of the submissions makes it all so easy. So I could send my piece off, and if my last critique comes in with salient issues that I could fix, why then I could still repair the damage. Maybe I should do that, get things off my chest as it were.
But I linger, worry, fret and then despair encroaches. This is not my usual self, but it is still a part of me, this feeling. I guess I’m looking for some external approbation, some received delight, a ray of unexpected sunshine. What doesn’t come in, I shall have to create for myself, out of thin air perhaps, but by putting my head down and working.
I’m off: I’m submitting, and then I’m going to do my regular Monday writing chore, a kind of recent social history of the adventures of belonging, of contributing to a community. I shall endeavour to cast that despair into the wind, and hope to emerge into a quiet, tranquil space.