I haven’t gotten around to finishing one of the stories I started this year. If I can get it finished, that would make three for the year. So I’m still behind, even when I finish, but at least I’d be done and able to move on from that one. I keep thinking about it and not getting to an end.
Over the weekend, Ambrose brought up to me a theory, that people know who they are, what they are good at, from a young age, and simply actualize that knowledge as they grow up. His opinion is that is true for both of us, but I’m not sure about me.
I thought about what I’ve known myself to be good at from a young age. Reading. Schoolwork (especially standardized tests). Maybe writing.
Because a child who is good at writing isn’t the same thing as an adult who is good at writing. Writing that is good for a child is not the level one expects at an adult, professional level. I doubt myself. I doubt my skills and abilities when it comes to things that I cannot measure. That, perhaps, no one can truly measure.
Everyone gets to choose their own opinions on books and stories. Liking, not liking, loving, hating. There is no objective measuring stick that can tell you that one book is good and another is bad. Sure, some might be “bad” due to poor grammar or word choices, but if the story is compelling, some readers can and will overlook that. And other books might be “good” because they are proclaimed to be so by the literary canon. But some of those books are not to many people’s tastes, and that’s just the way it is.
And yet, every time I send a story out on submission and get rejected, it gets to me. I want that validation that having a story purchased would bring. I don’t pay attention to any of the stories and books that I’ve put on Amazon. I know I have trickles of sales each month, because Amazon does send me emails when I’m going to be getting a payment. I’m alright with trickles, because that’s not nothing. But I still wish I could see something bigger happen. Validation again.
So I’m not sold on Ambrose’s theory. Especially as I look at what my physical habits are now. I’m more physically active now than I’ve ever been in my life. I backpack, alone in the wilderness, and with company. Those aren’t thing I would have imagined I’d ever do, or seen myself as capable of doing.
I’m a manager at work, which is not something I ever saw myself doing. I never liked taking the lead when I was young. It didn’t seem like the kind of thing that suited me. And yet, I am doing it and not doing a horrible job.
Perhaps he would argue that those things were always in my subconscious mind, and I’ve been aiming myself at them without realizing. And I think about how my upbringing, my socialization, involved a lot of suppression. Be quiet. Don’t cry. It could very well be that I believed I could not lead, and I believed I could not be physically active, and so it was true until I stopped believing it.