I didn’t think I had it in me to be a writer.
Each time I submitted stories, whether it be in class or for publication, I feared rejection. A request for a revision was equally painful. For the longest time, I could not see suggestions as an opportunity to change.
I let my writing fall by the wayside because I was scared.
I didn’t completely give it up. I wrote in secret. Each story I wrote went into a file and that is where it remained—hidden away. I never forgot these pages. Each time I looked at them, they were reminders of my fear.
So I rarely went to that file labelled “writing” in haunting black and white.
Over time, the file started to overflow with pages. Some of the pages were crumpled, others tattered and torn. The file grew larger and larger. It was unruly. It was unsightly. I didn’t want to look at it, let alone try to organize it.
It symbolized more than a fear of rejection. It was a deep wound, the fear, that I was not good enough.
What did it mean to be not good enough? What did I fear? As I looked at this amorphous mound before me, I did not know why, or how, it all began. I just knew that anything, any suggestion that told me to change, I took personally. I felt that there was something wrong with me. If I had to revise it meant I was somehow unworthy of love or, perhaps, even un-loveable.
It sounds so silly, but it felt so real as I looked at this unbearable mess. Looking at these papers, I felt like a mess. Inside I was as conflicted, tattered and torn as the pages in this files. As much as I hated looking at them, I hated feeling this way, yet I was unwilling to change.
But, wait, I had already been rejected. I had tossed myself aside, like those pages. I had told myself I could not be a writer. So now with my biggest fear before me, I decided to revisit those pages before me.
The very ones I had tossed aside, along with my hopes of being a writer. Instead of looking at them as failures, I now saw them as opportunities waiting to be found.
you will find me,
Underneath crumpled pages,
words tucked in creases, waiting
for shrill screeches to silence
words typed but unheard
mute on moldy pages,
Waiting to be found
when shrill screeches silence
a burgeoning mound
burning with stinging cries
growing, waiting to burst
a chance to be heard
in the bleeding pile of shreds
beneath the creased scars,
words once loved but damaged
a chance to be heard
In their echoing cries
you will find me, that voice
unheard but not forgotten
waiting, to hear I love you
Author: Jane CoCo Cowles
Assistant Editor: Laura G. Williams / Editor: Renée Picard