I’m very happy to announce two story acceptances – my piece for Andy Martin’s novel Birds And Boys (not Behind The Bike Sheds as previously reported – my apologies for the error) has been accepted, although the piece needs to be lengthened. Publication date has not yet been set, but it’ll be a while. This morning I heard that Trigger – an immensely personal and painful work twenty years in the making – has been accepted for Vastarien, a new literary journal from North America (North America, again!), founded by fans of Thomas Ligotti’s work and worldview. The first issue of this journal should be available (in physical and electronic formats) this Spring, but it has not yet been confirmed which issue Trigger will appear in.
Frankly, I have been re-thinking my position on submitting stories. Apart from the amazing support offered by Wapshott Press, I’ve spent the last couple of years dealing with endless rejections. Something I’ve considered in the past is to continue writing but to let them gather dust, as it were. In recent times I’ve read of artists who wrote/painted etc purely for their own purposes (mostly magickal) and development and have been much inspired by the concept (although it’s fair to say that I’m grateful that their work was discovered and made available after their death). Since the Winter Solstice I have been energised to write and I’ve felt compelled to submit stories for consideration, but after getting a couple of rejections earlier this year, I felt my energy could be better put into using the stories – upon completion, not just the act of writing, which has always been transformative for me – for more exploratory ‘head’ work. After all, what is the purpose of being published? Validation as a writer/ego undoubtedly comes into it, and perhaps the need for acknowledgment, but I have as much self-belief as I’ve ever had (perhaps more, bearing in mind the nature of what I write about these days) and I’m very aware that the content is never going to be of interest to the mainstream – and I do not wish it to be so. The possibility of payment is also a consideration, the pressure to justify time spent writing in a world where money is worshipped. The most important reason, I think, is the possibility of reaching kindred souls and sometimes communicating with them. A woman once came up to me and told me one of my stories (The Ferocious Night) had made her feel better about the death of her brother. This was more than I could ever have hoped for – for people to think about death as a transformation rather than a complete ending. I want to reach more people in that way but trying to find publishers where my work ‘fits’ (I am not prepared to write to order and it may be that I’m not capable of it) is, for the most part, demoralising.
Perhaps it’s time to stop, at least for a while, even thinking about submissions and publishing; I have a few things in the pipeline (which I’m very happy about) and only one story not currently with an editor/in the process of being published. This could be a time spent immersed in what for me is a transformative/magickal process, of getting into the particular frame of mind I seek for creating and then writing a story, with no thought whatever of a commercial purpose.
All images and text © Julie Travis