Trying to understand the words
Uttered on all sides by birds,
I recognize in what I hear
Noises that betoken fear.
Though some of them, I’m certain, must
Stand for rage, bravado, lust,
All other notes that birds employ
Sounds like synonyms for joy.
— W. H. Auden
I’m here. My brain is …a smear of light like you see Dopplering past when a car moves, but I’m present and mostly accounted for. My brain is giving me static and bursts of indecipherable noise today, because I had an editor pass on a piece which I felt was eminently saleable, comparing it to another book (which: confession, I haven’t read) they had edited, as if implying my latest project had been tailored to catch their attention (it wasn’t). And for a moment, I was on autopilot, sitting down to begin revising anew, because somehow I hadn’t been open enough, hadn’t been honest enough, hadn’t been real enough, telling my true…
…and then, after a long-ranging discussion with writers and supporters around me, I wondered why I always think that the error is in me. Couldn’t it just be that the piece is fine, but the editor was wrong, the house wasn’t the right fit? That’s what I tell other people, when their work isn’t accepted…
But, we as writers rarely think that first off. At least, I don’t, that confidence seems like rankest hubris, and unbearable sort of swaggering, peacocking pride. Obviously, I’m at fault, and my work, which is the same as me (no, it’s not) is also faulty.
This, I’m told, is what Imposter Syndrome looks like in realtime.
So, for this afternoon, I’m conducting an experiment. I’m stopping myself from my usual routine of probe-poke-fiddle-fix, and giving myself the benefit of the doubt. I wrote a good novel. Now it just needs to find a home.