Always Bring a Lantern

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Photo by Lisa

You follow the rules.
You don’t stray from the path.
Until the path disappears and
you are alone in the forest.

There is nothing for you here.
Only Darkness remains
to enfold you in her arms and
lovingly caress your face.

You bury yourself
in the deep silence
of trees creaking
and dead leaves rustling.
A tomb of earthy scents and
pungent rot.

Dust to dust.
You are born again.

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On Rejection

Rejection is, unfortunately, an inevitable part of writing. Whether it’s rejection from agents or publishers or bad reviews from readers, once your work is out there it never stops.

It’s important to have a thick skin when you want to be an author. Once your writing leaves your personal possession, it takes on a weird life of its own and it no longer belongs to you. It belongs to all the people reading it who bring their own unique experiences to the words.

When I get a rejection letter from an agent, I know it isn’t personal. It’s business and their “no” might have nothing to do with my writing and everything to do with the current market. Or my work just isn’t their personal preference. I’m disappointed, but not devastated because I realize it’s just a business decision.

I know that’s not the case for everyone. If you’re dreaming of becoming a full-time author and you’re having trouble getting your foot in the door, here are some things to remember.

  • Breathe. Everyone starts somewhere. Even the greats have been rejected.
  • Edit, edit, edit. Every time you go back and edit your work, you’re making it stronger.
  • Find some critique partners and beta readers you trust. Your writing won’t get better in a vacuum.
  • Listen to the feedback you’re getting. Don’t just dismiss it out of hand because you don’t want to hear it.
  • Persevere! Don’t give up because it’s hard. If you don’t keep trying, then you’re destined to fail.
  • Sometimes you have to let go of the manuscript you’re submitting and work on something new. You can always revisit the old work later.
  • Kick back, relax with your beverage of choice, and remember to take care of yourself!

With luck and perseverance, we will all realize our dreams! In the meantime, how do you deal with disappointment and rejection?

“Web-footed Fascists with Mad Little Eyes”

Inspired by this song by Alan Moore.

ducks

Photo by Lisa

There were signs everywhere around the lake. “Don’t feed the ducks,” they read.

We laughed at the signs with their shadowy cartoon ducks and circles with lines through them. We were young. We didn’t know any better.

So we fed the ducks. We fed them bread crusts. Then we fed them sandwiches. Soon enough they were demanding tea and cake and by the time the ducks were done with us, they were ordering five course meals at the most expensive restaurants in town.

We were young. We didn’t know. And now the ducks rule our lives and there is no escape.

Reading Challenge March Roundup

Happy April! Here are the spoiler-free reviews for the books I read during March. It was a mixed bag of good and not-so-good books. What are you reading right now?

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A Book by a Female Author: Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan

This memoir skillfully intertwines Corrigan’s youthful summer as a nanny in a motherless household in Australia with her growing acceptance and appreciation for her own mother. I loved this book. I couldn’t relate to the prickly relationship Corrigan had with her mom, but I could certainly relate to appreciating mothers. And this book was worth the read if for no other reason than I now know that grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a delicious thing that exist. That recipe was definitely my take-away message.

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A Book Originally in another Language: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

The short stories in this book were mostly bittersweet and bleak. There were a couple upbeat stories that I enjoyed, but for the most part I was left feeling very empty. Murakami has beautiful descriptions and is a master at capturing moments on the page. His stories read like films in my mind and the bleak landscape of feeling won’t soon leave me. Despite his skill, however, I often found myself not enjoying the stories simply because I didn’t want to be feeling the emotions he portrays. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book.

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A Book with More than 500 Pages: Runemarks by Joanne Harris

I was really excited to read this book because it delves into Norse mythology, but I ended up being disappointed in its execution. The plot deals with the aftermath of Ragnarok and follows 14-year-old Maddy in the subsequent world that arises. The world-building was confusing and despite the lengthy explanations at the beginning, I still felt lost throughout most of the book. I found myself skimming most of the book because I wanted to know the ending but didn’t want to invest much time in it. Overall, not a successful book for me.

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A Book Written by an Author with your Initials: In Secret Service by Mitch Silver

This was a fun thriller about a woman who finds a lost manuscript that puts her in danger as people hunt her to get it back. For me, it needed some suspension of disbelief after one of the bad guys is revealed, but I really enjoyed the book! Great storytelling, interesting frame to the story, and a main character I connected with. I recommend this one!

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A Book by an Author You’ve Never Read Before: Alibi Junior High by Greg Logsted

This middle grade novel follows Cody Saron, the son of a CIA operative, as he begins attending school for the first time in his life. Cody knows how to pick locks and fight, but the skills needed to navigate the halls of junior high often elude him. This story was really fun! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Cody’s travails and triumphs as he learns to be a kid again. The climax flew by too quickly for my liking and was a bit contrived, but that doesn’t take away from the charm of this novel. Highly recommend for a quick, entertaining read!