I Win

I am thinking about success. I’ve been stomping around for days with a resignation letter in my bag, snarling to myself that I’m going to quit this stupid, mind numbing job and devote myself full time to living a creative life. And then I get the Black Lawrence chapbook rejection. Not even a semi-finalist. And then I get the triple-play rejection from Black Warrior/Indiana/Hayden’s Ferry. And I think, how can I quit my job in the face of clear evidence that I could live a “creative life” but that doesn’t mean anyone’s going to publish my creative shit? What if you threw a creative life and nobody came? What if I live a creative life and no one cares? What if I devote myself to writing and other creative pursuits and remain mediocre and unacknowledged. Shouldn’t creativity be for creativity’s sake? I know I’ve whined about – I mean, discussed this before. Yes, I should love the process. And sometimes I do. And if I never got another publishing credit, I would probably still do creative shit – my little collage cards, iPad drawings, occasional quilt, the occasional etcetera. But I would be bitter about it.  (That’ll learn ‘em.) Or I need to think carefully about this idea of “success” and really hone in on what, on any given day, with regard to any given creative initiative, I define success as. If at the moment I believe it has to do with getting published in magazines, then I’d better double down and get my work out there and out there and out there. But I had better leave room for other kinds of successes – a friend mentioned to me the other day that she had just reread a poem I had written some years ago for her husband’s birthday about a day we’d all had together, and she said, “it was just perfect.”  Now THAT’s the kind of success I should revel in. That’s gold to hang around my neck on a ribbon.


3 thoughts on “I Win

  1. Just 4 me 2day!!!!! Thank you! Fits me to a “T”……but, in totally different ways…and yet…very helpful I think…………..will see as I travel on……….:-)))

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Yes! Quit your job and devote yourself to the creative life if you can afford it. Mediocrity is not the same as being unacknowledged. You can be brilliant and unacknowledged. Send out to different magazines. Get your stuff out there and out there and out there. And yes– redefine success. Success is that moment when you put into words something others have felt but couldn’t articulate, or that moment when words you swear you didn’t dream up came to you, or when poem you wrote surprised and lifted you, or when you finally mastered something you’ve been trying to master. That’s all. That’s really all. Sort of underwhelming from a certain perspective. Publishing is just that thing we need to do to reach more people and hopefully to turn the creative life into a life that provides enough sustenance to quit your job so you can be more creative. But if you can quit without publishing, then do! The world will be better for it because there will be a happier, richer Marilyn McCabe in it.


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