13. on writing about the people in my life

I started working on my fourth (well, technically fifth) short story today. It's funny how "inspiration" strikes. One day you're sitting on the couch watching Law & Order: SVU, wondering if you'll get the urge to write another story again. It takes so much out of me. What was it that Junot Diaz said? "I write like it's an organ I'm pulling out of myself."

The next day you're waiting at a coffeeshop and you suddenly think, I'm going to call my next short story, "My Second Cousin's Wedding." And you get out your notepad. And you write, "I call her my second cousin because she's the second oldest of them all."

That's how the story begins.

I shared my second story with the world today. (The world being Facebook. I hate announcing anything about myself there, but I felt a need to share.) And I saw that one of the subjects of my short story, my second cousin, "liked" my post. Which meant she probably read it.

I felt ashamed. I didn't say the nicest things about her in there. And I don't know how she'll feel about this next one that I'm writing, which is also about her.

How do you do these things? To me, the most compelling, precious part of writing is communicating to the world how I perceive things. All of my stories are based on my perception of the things that happen to people around me.

But is it okay? I can't help but wonder.

Am I allowed to tell your story?

11. on dealing with rejection (writing and otherwise)

I was a roller coaster of emotions today (apt, since I was just at Universal Orlando over the weekend). I've been waiting to hear back about something and today was it. I was frantic. A little nauseous. Went through all sorts of gross thoughts which all ended in "you suck." Judgment hour came tonight, just now: I didn't get it.

The old me would've probably crumbled. I'm not sure how I used to deal with rejection, but I think it was by descending into a dark place with a caved in roof. Something to that extent.

But this time, I think I'm okay.

I had a pretty frank conversation with myself about what being rejected this time--and many more times in the future--means for my dreams. I ended up writing a letter to myself to figure it out:

You’re going to be tested today and it’s okay. Just be strong. Know that you can always try again. Things happen for a reason. Rejection is not a bad thing. It’s a chance to be better. To work towards something. Deep breath in, deep breath out. You can make it, as you have made it so many times before! There is nothing wrong with you. It’s in times like these--times when your faith in yourself is truly tested--that you get stronger. You know this. You’ve been there before. Shhhh. Quiet yourself. In the grand scheme of things, this is just one thing. One day. It’s okay. What’s that thing that Coach Taylor always says? Character. Character. Be Brave. Be Strong. Be Okay. Be More Than Okay. Know that you will be more than okay. You will be Better. You will be peaceful and exceptional. 

I've learned by now that rejection (in any form) uncovers the one thing that separates those who succeed from those who don't: The will to keep going. (Okay fine, Batman's version is better: And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.)

So now what? In a way, I feel like I've reset. Everything I've planned to do, that I want to do, seems that much more clear. My goals and projects feel like old friends. I feel a renewed passion, hunger, willpower.

Writers, artists, dreamers, whatever. I've got to say: I think rejection is okay. I think I'm okay. And you'll be okay too. You'll be better than you were before.

This blog is about being hungry all the time, and it still is. I've got that hunger. It's greater than ever.