Ian Submits Himself for Your Acceptance

After waffling back and forth about it for the past forty-eight hours, I finally pushed the button to upload my story, “The One About Ian”, to the servers of Glimmer Train Press. Within sixteen weeks I should receive the rejection letter. In sixteen weeks I’ll be preparing for the next residency of my MFA program. In sixteen weeks it will be warmer than it was today. In sixteen weeks I may have decided that this story isn’t worth the kilobytes it has taken up on my hard drive. Sixteen weeks is both a long and a short time.

I know that “The One About Ian” is on to something, that it represents my best, most complete work to date. I still wonder whether it’s done. I wonder whether my most complete work is still not good enough. Steven Cramer, during the residencies, has often pointed out, “Just because your work is rejected, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. And, just because it’s accepted, it doesn’t mean it’s good.”

What is this urge to publish? Where does this overwhelming desire to be accepted come from? I wish I knew. In truth, when I begin writing I am truly writing for myself. I want to tell myself a story. Christ! My earliest memories are of roaming my parents’ yard talking to myself. That’s where it started. When did my self-worth become so based on what others thought? Why do I care? Why does any writer?

Today, in addition to that small moment of confidence when I pushed that button, Stephanie and I continued our maddening months-long quest to get our apartment in order. We bought a new bookcase and rearranged our collection. I took many of the books that inspire me and that I want to have nearby as I write, and I brought them into a bookshelf we’ve placed here in the office. There’s never been one in here before.

Looking at the bookshelf now, as I type this, makes me smile.

I didn’t get my hair to look quite the same as when Fred played with it yesterday but I did get it into an acceptable arrangement. Stephanie was startled by the length of it at first, and the style. She’s adjusted and is quite fond of it now.