Just Keep Trying

Eleven years later and this is still my “getting work done” theme. Is there something I’m really serious about completing? Am I completely straight-faced and probably tired as I just get up and do it without complaining? Then this is what I hear.

After the last post, this song came on… for life.

That sounds sappy, but I’m not kidding. I had a negative experience two weeks ago (a friend went completely and actually insane on me). Although it wasn’t the reason my last post was so grim (maybe that was definitely just the fun of fresh rejection letters), I’m sure it didn’t help.

But, there comes a time when there have been enough negatives–enough ridiculous problems–that you just stop caring. I would call it a breaking point if that also didn’t sound negative.

I find myself thinking of it as an “Oh, gi–really? Fuck this” point.

So, about two weeks ago, Lightning Strike Rescue came on.

And I reworked “The Drowned God.” Just one more, neurotic edit and it’s off to Writers of the Future.

And then I reached out to a bunch of people I’ve shied away from–including near-strangers, which is crazy if you know the first thing about me. Instead of backing away, worrying about saying something stupid, I just talked and shared my work (because I think I’ll always need more readers), and then marveled as these people–even the strangers–just talked back.

And then I figured out a lot more about the sequel to Memory, making me super eager to finally get back to that story. I did get my first rejection for it, but I just need an afternoon to find a batch of new targets for submission.

Which I haven’t had time to do because, somewhere in all of this, I got a new job. As a line editor. At an indie publishing firm.

That insane, immediate turn around.

I… am a superstitious man. Superstitious and a writer. So, of course, even when I drop the hammer–even when my face goes all dispassionate and I’m all, “let’s do this”–I’m still inherently so used to failure that it’s… bizarre to have the world immediately vomit good things right back at my face. I narrow my eyes and cast them about, one eyebrow raised. “What… is this?” I ask.

I wonder, “Is this job going to implode somehow?” It’s immediately the best one I’ve ever had; I’m getting paid to do that thing I went to school for (a thing I love doing)–so lay it on me universe. What’s the catch?

And in reply, the universe throws a friendly Black man at me two days ago, on the 2 train.

“You reading Homer?”

I nod and this stranger strikes up a conversation–something I have the hardest time in the world doing. Only this time, after a full two weeks of not having everything I say questioned by anyone, I’m oddly fine. This is just a conversation. People have them all the time.

At first, we just chat about literature–The Count of Monte Cristo is his favorite.

Eventually, he explains that he did time. Immediately, the warning siren goes off; I have to wonder if he’s conning me, because, as a New Yorker, I’ve already been on the bad end of this very con (along with countless others). But there’s no too-firm hand shake or veiled demand for money. As this man continues talking, I feel horrible for even expecting it.

After he’s explained his love for Dumas, he gets pensive. “Man,” he says, staring off, “I’m responsible for so much of the evil you see out here. But God and I have an understanding. I woke up today, so I know he’s not angry.” He smirks. “I’m trying, my brother. Working. I gotta make up for the things I’ve done.”

“I can’t imagine how rough that is,” I say.

And he shakes his head.

“You’re doing good, dude,” I say. “You have to just keep trying.”

A few stops later and he shakes my hand. “Take care, my brother!” and he leaves the train.

I sit, stare at nothing.

And I think about how sad I’ve been and how stupidly grateful I should be.

~~~Writing Update~~~

LS-ProgressSidebar(inPost)-6.24.15I really have spent all of my free writing time working on “The Drowned God.” I have it out to a few new readers, including one of my favorite streamers–Hootey, from Vinesauce, an intelligence nerd and teacher who initiated charity drives on his streaming network (so, really, the best kind of person). I’m intending to give it one more look and then send it out to Writers of the Future–only because that’s an easy next target (arguably, the hunt for magazines that accept multiple submissions takes way longer than the incredibly simple submission form for WotF).

After that, it’s back to editing Memory. #SFFPit didn’t go well, but I was ready for that. I just need a quick read to make sure my additions don’t slow the pace or hamper the personality of my main character. Then it’s that hunt for submission targets.

In the future, my heart has finally come around on War of the Hex. After a while away, I’m ready to try again and hopefully have two novels and a short to submit everywhere.

And that’s it. You can get a more steady stream of me on Twitter @LSantiagoAuthor, although, be warned: that’s where all my gaming talk comes out. Video games aren’t all I tweet about, of course, but sometimes, Bungie just can’t stop proving how addicted they are to manipulating their fanbase or Nintendo can’t stop giving horrible showings at E3.

Regardless, thanks again for passing by. And, as always, write well.

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