Wave of Mutilation


It’s been a few years, but I’m remembering the last time I was in a fistfight. That moment when someone’s fist connects with your face is unforgettable. You look up, the knuckles are into your nose, cheek, and eye socket. The pain overwhelms your senses. The cartoons lie. You don’t see stars or hear birds. It’s blackness. Everything goes to a sheet of dark while hurt becomes your master.

That’s how I feel today. Don’t worry, things at home are great. My blues, to quote a Maid Marian, are regarding my writing.

Since the first of August, I started receiving feedback on my words. I joined a critique group and weathered the storm of good natured, constructive criticism. Then I started entering short stories contests, applied to two online magazines, and asked three people who are published authors to judge my stuff. The running total is 4 rejections and some harsh reality regarding the two stories being serialized on MY BLOG CAN BEAT UP YOUR BLOG - Robots and Helene. They need more work than I thought.

I’ve been writing almost every day for 10 months. On average, pencil has been on parent six days a week since mid January. Ninety percent of what I’ve written, you all haven’t seen. That 10 percent is being punched out like a Mike Tyson opponent in the mid 1980s.

The worst blogs on the internet are the ones where people whine in Dear Diary style. You know the ones. They read like Alanis Morisette or Conor Oberst journals. Woe is me and pass the chardonnay with black fly. Guess what, sports fans, that’s the category this post can fall. I have no funny. There’s not a life lesson to ponder. Even the song I will post, while good, is typical of what a Dear Diarist would play. Writing those posts every once in a while is great, just not every one. So, I’ll try not to make a habit of this.

I have a lot of work to do, professionally and personally. For now I’m not changing a damn thing. I am using the word damn, which shows my frustration. I might call my reviewers doodyheads but I promise I’ll do that offblog. No reason to work blue.

Before I get back to work, I’m going to see my 8 year old daughter beat up little boys in judo class. I may have her punch and kick me. At least it will cease being metaphorical for me.

 I just wrote 444 words on why I suck. Beat that.

Today’s song is excellent. I almost used Where Is My Mind? or Debaser. They’re my second and third favorite Pixies songs. This is my first. It’s my blog and I’ll play my Pixies if I want too. Here’s Wave of Mutilation. It’s how I feel. Thanks for reading, I love you all.

25 responses to “Wave of Mutilation

  1. For some of the things you mentioned above I am exhilarated as well as terrified of submitting my first chapter to a professional critique. It’s a prize I won so I should use it…but I’m freaking over what the response might be…which is possibly why I am stalling on submitting it :)

  2. Don’t give up but I know how the rejection hurts that’s why i don’t have the guts to submit more often than I do. As far a my book well that’s a thing of the future cause I think it’s gonna hurt too much to go all the way with it. Keep it up you are a good writer.

  3. These are my two favorite quotes. I don’t remember who said them. But they apply to you today.

    “There is no failure for a man whose spirit is unconquered”

    “There is no failure for the man who gets up every time he falls,who persists when everyone else gives up, who pushes on when everyone else turns back”

    Also, writing is subjective. Go watch the movie Moonstruck, go throw up, and then go read all the rave reviews it got, and you’ll understand my point.
    Screw the experts!!!!!

  4. I’m not a literary editor, but I know what I like. Writing is so very subjective. My husband likes military crime novels, I love science fiction. He wouldn’t like the writing in my books, I find the writing in his boring. Take any constructive criticism with thanks, but it’s them as much as you. Try to not let bad reviews get you down.

  5. I just got home from shopping for groceries, and I listened to the entire album Surfer Rosa. I just felt cooler walking around listening to The Pixies, like “yeah, I’m cool, and you’re not”. Which, in itself, is not cool. But whatever – still awesome music.

  6. I’m JUST starting to realize that. I thought being a good writer was just something you were or were not. Turns out everyone has to work at it. When you try to do something larger – like a book or even a short story, you find out (from #^!(^!! other people, how dare they!) there is this thing called “craft skills” – just found this out myself… in short, naturally a good writer is a huge step. But learning not to fuck up rules you didn’t even know existed, keep focused POV, watch shifts that lose readers…. yikes.

    Writers reading each others’ work is crucial in the end. Finding readers good at critiquing is HUGE.

    No one told me this was fucking work. I just always loved doing it. Assholes.

    • thanks Amy. After sleeping on it, this is how I feel. Kristen Lamb gave me a pretty harsh but underatbale critique. I’m using her words carefully. You’re right, without writers reading what I write, it’s not going to go anywhere. Good comment.

  7. See, I’ve only ever had one punch landed in my face (during Kung Fu training, I’ve been in fights where punches were thrown . . . but it’s always been with people with Napoleon complexes, and, well, they couldn’t reach my face) and my world went white, not black.

    And then the pain. Oh, dear god, the pain.

    Where Is My Mind? is one of my all-time favorite songs, by the Pixies or anyone else.

  8. I hate critiques. And (I may be delusional and/or in denial) the worst ones usually come from people who would never read my writing if it weren’t for the fact that they were asked to critique it (like for competitions). They say dumb things like “it’s unnecessarily crude” and “unrealistic”. I don’t think someone who doesn’t appreciate my subject matter and point of view should be given the task to critique it. They tend to find more typos and plot problems then someone who thinks I’m actually creative. I’m gonna guess you’ve got some of these kind of people critiquing your writing too. I think you’re a remarkable storyteller and a great passion for writing. Some “good” writers don’t even have that. So fuck them. Drink on what they said for awhile and seriously consider whether they’re criticisms are worth taking. For example: I’m still crude. It’s not really me writing if I’m not. And: a few peeps have said my more ecstatic sentences are sometimes hard to follow or understand; and that’s some advice worth taking into consideration. Just keep going. Criticism can make you wanna kill people, but in a few weeks you might miraculously notice that something you write is flowing better cuz you’re paying more attention to structure and shit now (this is true for me; but I haven’t asked for more critiques to confirm I’ve gotten better! Haha!). Just keep writing.

  9. keep writing, Lance. No one with depth makes it without a lot of hard, freaking work. People, for the most part, love the quick. the sparkly, the shallow, so then they never have to think too much afterward. I suspect when YOU are happy with what you write, everyone else is too.

  10. Dude, I don’t need to tell you what I think about book agents and publishers. Being a New York Times best seller means absolutely nothing now and when douche nozzles like acquitted murders and washed up actors get book deals it’s a sad state of affairs.

    Keep doing your thing..and everybody else can ____________ (fill in the blank).

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