Friday, April 11, 2008

The Serpent of Doubt by Kat Magendie

I can find frustration in this writing life—when I allow the business side to overshadow the imaginative inspiration. When I think Publish instead of Create. Well, this is a business after all, isn't it? At least that is what I am to understand (and a part of me does, yes, of course), that writers must think of their writing as a business proposition, as something to sell. I write. I rework and edit. I then sit back with the finished work that has become a Product, and that is when Doubt ssssslithers in. I try to ignore the whispery sounds sssssliding, sssssliding.

I sit lonely, alone, an island, and I hold my words tight against me, in spite of, not because of whip-tongued Doubt. There is the compulsion, the veritable need to write—if I do not lance the festering boil of words they only inflame, throb, ache, and I become ill with infection of disuse. It is only when I complete a piece that the content leaves my face and the ssssslivered tongue pierces, “Time to sssssubmit and wait. If you’re talented, they’ll publish you.” I then slog to my mailbox—what will be there? When I push my hand into the cavernous darkness, I imagine the snarly snakes, hissssing venomously, waiting, waiting. Will I be stricken by the rejection poison? Or will the serpent offer up a shiny red apple, crisp with possibility?

Jean Cocteau says, “Only intensity matters. Talent—you have it or you don’t.” Perhaps included in that “intensity” is the stubborn will that a good writer will never give up, a gifted, talented writer will thrust a hand into the writhing abyss, pull out the envelope, open it, and while reading its contents, will have already stealed the mind ready to craft the next and the next and the next and the next piece, until the end of their time, no matter Doubt and it's sssss sssss sssss. Be grateful for your gifts, whatever they are, even if there are times You may feel as if the gift comes wrapped with conditionssss. Then, find that intensity, that stubborn tenacity to let slip the serpent of doubt.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

you have both talent and intensity. don't let the snakes bite.

ranger dan

Nannette Croce said...

Yes, the business woman side of me often adds up the hours spent for no return (and I'm not talking strictly money). I have given up my creative writing many times, getting my fix from blogging and letters to the editor, but then somebody comes across something I've written online and contacts me, and it electrifies me all over again.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Yes! Both of you need to keep at it. Too talented to worry about all the ssssss's of the world ready to drag a good writer down!

Kathryn Magendie said...

and same back to you, Ang...!

Ranger Dan, how nice of you to say.

Nan - being contacted by a reader of our words is wonderful! yes!

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