Or nickel plate, as the case may be.

I’ve been in the writing game a long time. I have little to show for it, publishing-wise, except good will. Some editor’s choices on workshops, several close calls with agents and editors for my novels (some frustratingly close), some short stories that were praised by editors but “not quite right” for them (with assurances that I would be able to sell them elsewhere). (“Oh yeah, where?” I always want to ask, but one does not engage in that kind of back and forth with editors generous enough to give one a personal reply.) (They mean well, I assure myself.) (And I’m confident they do mean well. They wouldn’t have taken the time otherwise. I am grateful.)

There’s been enough of that kind of thing that I’ve stopped doubting my ability. I may not be a gold star writer, but I know I don’t suck. If I am good, I think I’m just not the right kind of good. My stuff tends to be hard to categorize, or it slips sideways between categories. And here’s the killer: I once submitted one of my stories to an anthology for interstitial fiction. I got a very generous rejection letter on that, assured it was a great story that I should have no trouble selling elsewhere, but it wasn’t interstitial enough. At that point with that particularly story, I’d submitted to just about every periodical in the known universe and although a number of editors had praised it, no one thought it was “quite right.” So, I put it back in the trunk and decided no more submissions on that one.

I’ve hit that particular wall with a number of my stories. I am not a big fan of short stories nor a talented short story writer. It’s not my thing so I don’t bother anymore because I’ve always figured I was more of a novelist. But I do have several stories that went through a process similar to the story mentioned above. Objectively speaking, I know they are not an embarrassment because professional people who had no dog in the hunt said they were good. And I’ve reached a point in my life where they are just sitting in my trunk—or my treasure chest if I’m in an uncharacteristically upbeat frame of euphemism. I’ve decided that maybe I’ll just start posting them. Time is in infinite supply. Maybe it’s time to share my gold (nickel plate) rather than hoarding it like a miser. (Don’t worry. I don’t have an inflated sense of my own worth. It’s more a sense that it will be doing this or nothing at all for these stories and they will disappear forever once I die and my hard drive is reformatted.)

I’m not 100% sure I’ll do this. First, I’d have to get my website in shape. My web designer left the business and I have no way to update my current site. I am not talented in that way myself. I can do basic html but my brain pretty much freezes when I try to do more. So, I’m thinking of scrapping the old website altogether and doing something simpler, like Square Space. I’m thinking my old website—as much as a love the graphics my designer came up with—is part of the past. Maybe the biggest lesson of the past six months of my life is that I have to let go. I’m in a transition these days that has been unexpectedly difficult. I’m having to redefine myself from the ground up. Who knew retirement could be as baffling as puberty?

I’ve lived most of my life having to conform to the schedules imposed on me by the outside world. Now I have the freedom to do what I want, to make myself anew—and it’s fricking terrifying. And exhilarating. And tingly. And overwhelming. And ohmygodwhatdoIdowiththis? You know, like puberty.

So who am I? Not a fricking clue. But I may not be someone who hoards my gold (nickel plate) anymore. Only time will tell. I hope I don’t run out of time before I figure it out.

Random quote of the day:

“The survival of the world depends upon our sharing what we have and working together. If we do not, the whole world will die. First the planet, and next the people.”

—Frank Fools Crow, Ceremonial Chief of the Teton Sioux, quoted in Fools Crow by Thomas E. Mails


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.