I have a little stash of micro/flash fiction sitting around and as I am thinking about submitting it I keep running into things.
For one, when I write flash fiction apparently something I like to do is to play with conflict that is outside of the Western literary idea of what plot is. I didn’t even really realize it until I read this.
The problem is that 90% of the rejections I have gotten for these stories (especially the ones that are completely outside of Whiteness in an explicit way) is that they are not understood, that the readers don’t “feel” anything, that some of my references to Black culture both past and present are not understood. Etc.
The other problem is that as far as magazines for POC go, I feel out of place because a lot of my writing is dark as fuck and a lot of those magazines strive for uplift. I understand that philosophically but, personally I feel like the odd kid out.
As I get older I keep finding myself in this position with the shit I like to write. Too much that is too sexually explicit or says fuck too much for the literary minded, but that is not quite erotica.
Drugs, whores, badly behaved queers, POC narratives that are not pain porn but are also not racially uplifting, hood life that is not the scare all the white people or eventual escape from the hood stories.
I have a cache of things that are just not really what I see in the market. And even though sometimes editors really like them, they just don’t fit anywhere.
That being what it is I’m still really hesitant about writing a novella, or putting together a proper chapbook, or really digging into the horror stories I have been working on.
Granted I could self publish everything but honestly I just don’t have the energy to really devote to that level of I don’t give a fuck.
On one hand I feel like when I was told to write the stories I want to read I took that and am running with it. I am marathoning the fuck out of that.
On the other hand, while I’m running with it I’m seeing fewer and fewer promising leads on being published. I like being published. I like people other than the people I know seeing my work.
I don’t know how to feel or what to do with myself and my shit.
What really trips me out is that my non fiction, not essays but article type things are finding homes and shit. People like them and I like that. I like helping people and it feels really good but that isn’t all I want to do.
Is this some kind of writer leveling up shit?
I don’t know or understand how to navigate my own feelings about it. I keep alternating between sad and rage.
Okay here is what I know:
- I am not going to purposefully censor myself or what I’m writing.
- I am working on not tying my sense of identity as a writer to the publishing industry at large.
- I am not one story. I am multitudes. (See here for reference).
- I may not know what the fuck I am doing but I am doing it.
Okay I feel a little better and I have a fuckload of writing to do.