Espresso at midnight anyone? Sure! Why not? Because it's Saturday and it's prime writing time for the busy mom (or busy writer with a day job). A caffeine buzz and possibly some productive work. Or in the very least, some creative written complaints.
Woke up to my morning rejection along with my morning cup of coffee today. Thanks, deComp Magazine. You bet your butt I will submit again in the future!!! You never get completely unaffected by rejection. I still go through the emotions of sadness/anger/defensiveness/self-hatred. Only, they go by in a flash and then that's it. They are gone before I even delete the mail. Then I think of where else to send. The more I have floating around out there, the more of a chance I have getting stories into the literary world.
The story in question is "The Tattered Muse". It is an earlier work. I know I've expanded in my creative abilities since. But I truly do believe in this short and I'm going to keep trying. Every magazine out there can turn it down, and that's fine or whatever, because I like what I've done and I think it's worth a read and I will keep trying. Here's a snippet:
Draw! Why was it so difficult to focus? He really just wanted to reach out and touch her nearly translucent skin. God, he wanted to touch her. It was nothing in the slightest to do with lust. He wanted to get that sensation he couldn’t put into words if someone asked—to use his fingertips to translate her essence to his paper. He knew just by looking how smooth her skin would feel.
The woman turned her head slightly, her eyes rolling to search through the people. There were kids at game booths, couples on dates, a few clowns the artist knew personally as very good friends. What was she hiding from?
“You have to stay still,” he told her. She snapped her head back in place, looking apologetic.
“It’s alright,” he laughed. The artist used it as an excuse, really. And he knew it. He left his easel and closed the gap between them. Slowly, carefully, he cupped her warm face in his hands and gently tilted her head half an inch to the perfect angle. Their eyes met with a force that seemed impossible to pull away from. He barely managed it, daring to brush her brown hair behind her shoulder, taking the time to notice its smooth texture, its thickness. She flinched, raking both hands through her hair and putting it back in place. But it was too late. He saw it already—bruised fingerprints along her neck.
The artist took a step back, bewildered. He couldn’t believe the flash of anger, the disturbance to his very core the marks had wrought. But most of all, it was the desire to be protective that surprised him. He observed her shrink down in her seat—her embarrassment and shame apparent in the creases forming along her brow.
“What happened?” He knelt before her, took her hand gently. She didn’t flinch or pull away. Whatever she felt toward the artist, it was closer to trust than he could have hoped for. The artist searched the crowd and turned back to her. “Is he here?”
“What the hell’s going on? Why are his hands all over you?” A man emerged—his words hoarse and angry. As he brushed his unkempt hair from his bloodshot eyes, he stumbled to the woman and clamped his hand possessively around her slender arm. The artist saw his knuckles whiten, his nails digging into her skin. More prints on her body for another day.
Everything blurred in shades of red as the artist approached the inebriated gentleman. He reached for the man’s arm and successfully removed it from the woman. She jumped up, watching the man she’d been avoiding with a look of sheer, unbridled panic.
What the artist wasn’t expecting was for the man to be so sharp in his drunken state. He smoothly shifted his weight from the woman and swung at the artist—the crack of fist to jaw strangely harmonizing with her low-pitched cry. The man pushed hard, sending the artist tumbling into his easel.
The portrait was revealed to the three of them, along with other curious onlookers who had gathered at their spectacle. The woman fell to her knees and picked up the drawing. The artist lifted himself from the ground, watching as his blood trickled from the page. He raised his right hand and observed the gash his sharpening knife made when he’d connected with the easel.
There was no pain, though. His jaw didn’t pound, the slice in his hand didn’t sting. All he felt was stirring created by the look on her face as she stared at her portrait. Could she see it? The scrupulous attention to every detail of her saddened lips and rigid posture? The shadows? Every fear and hope he’d captured in the windows of her eyes? He watched her study the image and saw understanding dawn. It was as if she truly saw herself, her real self. She shuddered. He imagined she was looking into a premonition—her body motionless, soaked in blood.
I believe in it, really and truly. Alas, Lately I've been experiencing more rejection than a cheap hooker at the blood bank. Why is "The Tattered Muse" the winner of The Most Rejection Letters Ever Received Award? I keep asking myself. It's possible it just doesn't fit the various literary magazines I've tried...all few dozens of them?