Yesterday morning I received the email I had been dreading. My flash fiction “In Their Own Good Time” didn’t make the cut for the 4th AXP Flash Fiction competition. After Tony Noland announced his story had been accepted on Friday I languished all weekend waiting to hear something. By Sunday I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact I would be getting a rejection and thus, I’d already turned my mind to where it could be sent next.
But assuming rejection and actually knowing you have been are two different things. When I read the email from bed, I went ‘Oh well, just as I thought’ and the morning continued on.
It was only after lunch it began to sink in.
What surprised me most was I really couldn’t care less about the writing. I did my best to ensure it was tightly written. There were no syntax errors and it was to the word count. I have had rejections before and moved on, knowing it was just not the right fit for where I had sent it. Rejection was a call to arms to find the right home.
But this time it is more than just a kick up the bum to move on.
I’m upset my idea and the message in it were rejected. I feel like a big slap for having dared to talk about birth – for having offered a different take on what we really shouldn’t be talking about, much less writing about.
Of course, maybe I could have executed the story differently to better effect. Maybe I came too absorbed (or besotted) with the message and made the story fit it, rather than the story carry the message. Maybe I should have gone for a micro environment – made the story personal – rather than the over-arching distance of the main characters – The Sacred Masculine and Feminine looking down on what humanity had done to itself?
Who knows? I’ll probably never know.
The dilemma now is what to do with the story. I don’t want it to languish on my hard drive. It contains an important message, as Annie keeps reminding me, and one which must be told, to as many people as possible.
We need to stop denying our mammalian natures and acknowledge we have specific needs when it comes to birthing (needs which run counter to a medical paradigm of control). As women we need to stop relying on medical un-truth and see it is just another form of belief and control, and start relying on our intuition – trusting in ourselves and our babies. Humanity needs to stop toying with nature and go with the program which has been evolved over eons – after all if we needed people in white coats to save us from/at birth – we would have died out as a species long, long ago. We need to stop forcing babies out before their time, because we know better. We actually don’t know better. We need to stop believing we are better than nature and technology will save us. We have no idea of the damage we are causing.
In my story I provide a stark ending, though one which carries a message of hope for those who are willing to trust.
That said and done… I’m lost. My fable needs a home.
Do I post it up as #fridayflash? This would ensure the most number of people read it… from a mainstream, non-birthing background. There is no point in preaching to the converted!
Or do I search out a magazine/literary journal for it? I fear there won’t be anyone out there who will want to publish it. After all – some of the ideas I posit will not be popular and are likely to scare lots of people. Create a nasty backlash?
A problem shared is a problem halved… so I turn to you, my readers (especially those who have been part of the process of bringing this story to life). Where to next?
UPDATE: since I hammered this out this morning (which yes was cathartic!) I’ve had an email from Chris ‘he’s-more- intuned-with-what’s-going-down’ Chartrand helping to put things in perspective. Hopefully he’ll pop in and share them in the comments section… but I’d still like to hear from you!