Dark teatime of the soul.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you told me so.  Everyone and their mom — and my mom — told me so.  After exams comes a long, dark teatime of the soul.  And lo, it’s been a soul-searching few months — since April, really.  I decided not to publicize my angst and went dark for awhile instead.

Blog address is back to http://www.girlwonders.com, and will likely stay that way.  At Clarion last year we were all encouraged to create a web presence associated with our real names, and to maintain it, as a method of building traffic, getting our name out there, joining the SF scene, etc.  Evidence in favor of this: several Big Name SF folks created huge audiences via their blogs, sometimes well in advance of publication.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  It also assumed a level of success that many of us actually achieved.  I…wasn’t one of the brilliant ones.  Damn.

I’ve had zero pubs for a year, despite sending out more than I ever have in my life to date.  Hell, I sent more stories into the ether in the months post-Clarion than I’d sent out in a decade previous.  No takers.  The blog became an albatross.  Do I write about failure, like every other writer blog ever?  How boring.  But it’s all I was up to, really: failing — and if I wasn’t going to write about writing my pants off and getting nowhere, the blog would become one more place where I felt the need to lie, to pretend to be happier than I actually was, to sell myself in lieu of selling stories.  Which became indistinguishable from just plain selling out, and which depressed me more than letting the blog dwindle.

Hence, blog dwindling.

I may blog here occasionally.  I may not.  If I don’t, it means I’m off story wrangling or dissertation writing, which is what I’m supposed to be doing anyway.  So’s not to be a total bummer, I will say that I’ve 1) built an exercise routine that I’ve stuck to like a drowning girl clings to flotsam, 2) I’ve written or revised for 13 of the last 16 days (I’m tracking wordcount and pages revised now, thanks to Okla Elliot’s FB page and Rahul Kanakia‘s blog) and have written six new pieces in six weeks, same as I did at Clarion, 3) I have ten pages of my prospectus drafted, 4) James and I remain in stupefying (and highly distracting) bliss and 5) I’ve spent oodles of time with PhDschool friends and am thoroughly enjoying summer in Chicago, min the soul-crushing failure that is my writing life.

Nope, still a total bummer.  Aren’t you glad there isn’t a four-month archive of this !@#$?  Because I definitely am.  I feel like I postponed the usual post-Clarion slump until after exams and then got walloped with a double dose of slumpitude.  This year’s Clarion is over halfway through now.  I don’t recognize the person I was a year ago.  Sending out work is damn humbling, and I don’t like it.  I do it anyway.  But besides that, for the most part I’m happier now than I was then, in every area of my life BUT the work.  Nothing to do but keep racking rejections.  Soon I will be undestructable.

Here is a picture of my recent trip to the lakefront, which I love because the kitesurfers’ kites look like two dark moons, reminding me of John Kessel’s lecture (rant?) about inaccurate descriptions of moon cycles in fantasy and science fiction.  James and I are on the beach somewhere below, which feels perfectly right given that a year ago this time we were lounging in the San Diego sand.

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3 thoughts on “Dark teatime of the soul.

  1. Don’t worry about publication slumps. If you perceive that your writing is improving, then it is almost certainly true. Publication will come eventually (I’ve had massive slumps, like eighteen months between my first pro sale and second pro sale…that’s just the way it is sometimes).

  2. Whoa, thanks for dropping by, Rahul! I deeply admire your work, and I was so happy to learn that you’re headed to Johns Hopkins–it’s such a good program. And thank you for blogging both your ups and downs–your blog has very much consoled me as I move through this particular dark teatime.

    • No problem. I follow your blog’s RSS feed, though I’d forgotten that, since it hasn’t been active lately. Thanks for the congratulations!

      Every person has to deal with their down period. In truth, most periods are down periods. The euphoria from an up-period doesn’t actually have to last very long. Luckily, you get used to it after awhile. Just do the things you got to do, and eventually you’ll come upon whatever psychological coping mechanism works for you.

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