Sunday, September 12, 2010
PARTING WORDS by Lena V. Roach
Be a writer? Bah, humbug. Call me a quitter. Who needs the heartbreak of rejection?
All my great novels lie cold and unwanted in a desk drawer, their merit wasted on unwise editors.
Who is to blame for this tragedy, you ask?
Years ago I came upon sterling advice. In his “My Papa,” Lloyd C. Douglas quotes his parent:
“If at first you don’t succeed, give up.” Why didn’t I listen and boldly inscribe those words above my computer?
Misguided egotist, I struggled to become a published novelist as if punishing myself were a virtue. And lost, time after time.
But now, those delusions have passed, like a fever. That latest rejection slip did it.
Do I want your sympathy? Absolutely negative. Rather, be exceedingly glad for me.
No more the fear of approaching the mailbox, slave to clammy hands and racing pulse. No more the aching shoulders or the bloodshot eyes from too many hours at the computer. I’ll join a smug audience of “discerning” readers: “Oh, I could do better than that if I tried!”
Ah, freedom from want to be published!
Freedom to be creative in other ways. Handicrafts, for instance. My home will run over with wall hangings and knickknacks. I’ll enroll in cooking school and throw dinner soirees for admiring guests. I’ll get my picture in the paper as co-chair of the Weeders Club, and maybe even join an exciting protest march. My telephone will ring again with social offers to have fun, fun, fun. All of this, and no more feelings of guilt for neglecting my family. They will shower me with hugs and call me blessed.
Oh, did you say something? You’re still reading me?
What’s that? You think it would be a mistake to throw the novel out with the bath water?
Well, I do have a confession to make. Only last night a great plot idea came to me as I slept. The opening chapter takes place on a moonlit patio. A “dream-walking” but tortured male protagonist is telling the sympathetically bewildered heroine, “Happiness? It’s like moonlight. You wake up in the morning and it’s gone.”
Now here’s the premise: “’Tain’t necessarily so,” despite the tragic unfoldings of their love fighting for life and moonlight without end….
But enough talk. I lose. You win. Excitement rages inside me. The computer beckons. Shirk my duty to try to entertain and inspire you, dear reader? Not in this lifetime.
Lena Roach’s published credits include: short story, Glamour, England; poetry, Philadelphia Young People's Magazine, Kansas City Poetry Magazine, Oasis Journal; Dear Teacher column in 19 newspapers; articles in local and regional newspapers and educational journals.