Category Archives: solitude

The Pros and Cons of Invisibility


‘They’–the illustrious hearsay experts–liken a writer’s existence to a vacuum. I’m starting to realize ‘They’ aren’t wrong. Between the sucking vortex of silence on the receiving end of my agent queries to the ominous passing of contest deadlines, the vastness of my professional solitude has begun to wear on me a little.

In fact, there was a moment a few days ago when I thought I had died.

In those brief delusional moments, I surmised everyone around me was a manifestation of my subconscious, nothing more than elaborate scenery for my postmortem ghost-drama. I imagined my possessions were only echoes of what I used to own–my computer, my printer, my paper–all shades of what I’d had on my earthly desk. It made perfect sense; I wasn’t getting feedback because I wasn’t sending out anything physical.

On many levels, I find my plane of existence not being on a mail carrier’s route a more preferable explanation than the fact I might not have whatever it is the publishing world wants in an author. Then again, the poltergeist-in-residence scenario would be a little too Beetlejuice-ish even for me (and since I left my veiled beekeeper hat in nineteen eighty-seven, I’m not really dressed for that particular event, anyway).

The deadline for notification of winners in that one writing contest is supposedly the twenty-first of this month. I’d already figured I hadn’t won, but I felt the few weeks between now and the release of the December issue of the magazine (which makes public the list of winners) would let me down gently–ease me out of expectation into acceptance. But, I opened the mail today and there was that December issue, sitting in my mailbox, the winners of the contest tucked neatly inside. It was enough to make me want to crawl back into my imaginary grave.

The lack of communication in this business is disheartening, at best. At least at my old job people were lining up to tell me how much I sucked. I didn’t have to guess. But, then again, my old job was hell, too, just a different kind–an inescapable realm of monotonous torment packed to the brim with neurotic, nouveau-riche malcontents.

I guess when I look at it that way, this vacuum ain’t all bad.