I wonder sometimes if I’m pulling a Huckabee–striving past futility.

I’m fairly ambitious in my exterior, fairly rock-like, too. Or at least I like to think so. But after being rejected almost thirty times by litmags in the past few months, after not getting into a residency…I am deeply questioning myself as a writer.

I wonder if I can write anymore, since my stroke. I realize all my publications and residency acceptances came before the stroke. I wonder if this is just the freaking end of me as a writer. I wonder if I should just stop writing fiction.

I wonder if the universe is waving a Big Huge Sign at me saying, “You can’t write. Nice try, though.”

And if so–what would I do with myself? Just suck up oxygen until the day I die? That’s kind of what I feel like I’d be, if I weren’t writing, even though in the whole realm of things writing ain’t much. But it’s what I thought I had to offer.

I’m surrounded by overachievers. People who are doing things in the world, starting companies, experiencing success in business, experiencing success in the arts. They are so awesome and I applaud them, and to some extent they all inspire me to do better, to do my best.

But lately, I don’t think my best is anywhere near good enough. Or that my good is anywhere near good.

G*d help me–maybe this is just a passing feeling, even though it’s a feeling that’s lingered with me for quite some time now.



Filed under Life, Writing

13 responses to “huckabee

  1. cirellio

    Strange, I really like your writing. πŸ™‚ I say … keep it up ~ prove ‘them’ wrong. And they’ll regret the day they sent you a rejection letter.

  2. I am going to be excessively positive, so I hope this doesn’t sound too annoying, but:

    The universe is not waving a big sign at you, I refuse to believe it! Your successes cannot be denied — your talent was there then and it’s still there now. It can’t have vanished after the stroke, it can’t. You’re going through struggles now, no doubt, and I relate so much to the questions and the insecurities… but just know it’s a passing feeling, a passing wave of frustrations, it WILL be gone at some point in the future.

    For some reason I feel very confident about this, or else I wouldn’t say it all. You are not pulling a Huckabee. So don’t give up.

  3. Hi. New reader here. I can’t tell you how often I’ve felt this way myself lately. I don’t know how to get over the feeling, but I hope you do.

  4. I don’t know what these rejection letter toads are talking about/thinking about/smoking in their pipe.
    Keep writing. It’s a marathon and the more you do it, the better you’ll be prepared for the the inevitable success around the corner. And yes, that corner can be a slow going one…

  5. cirellio: thank you for the encouragement!

    nova: yes, I guess I could see it as darkest before dawn.

    Chicklit: welcome to my blog!

    arirang: thanks for cheering me on. πŸ™‚

  6. Ah, Jade. Clearly, you need a tiffintin of some kind to cheer you up.

    I think we all feel this way — a lot. The answer for me is to get working on something that amuses me, or amazes me, or at least feels do-able. And to send that one out too.


  7. Violeta

    It’s almost impossible not to take that kind of rejection personally, but, keep in mind, it’s not personal. Litmags are businesses and all a rejection is saying is that your particular piece isn’t the perfect fit for the particular issue they’re striving to put together (it’s not just that your piece has to rock by itself, is has to rock in conjuction with all the other pieces they choose, and with their general vibe). So, yeah, absolutely, that rejection sucks, but I don’t think it means anything. What DOES mean something is that on an individual level readers connect with what you’re writing and I know from just having workshopped with you, they do. Your story is important to them. Try to block out the overachievers- your work right now is ripening your stories for the world. Stories that are going to make people laugh, and cry, and feel connected- that’s a calling you can’t let yourself be discouraged from because, imho, you’re too good!

  8. anonwupfan

    When it feels impossible, do a quick glimpse of a few biographies. If could write while destroying themselves intentionally, you can do it no problem. In Stephen King’s book he talks about not even remembering writing Cujo because he was so F’d up the whole time.

    Besides, overachievers are just folks who peak too early!

    Actually JP, your talent extend far beyond writing. You are (and keep in mind I don’t even know you!)a loving wife, erstwhile gardener, terrific cook, budding yogi, wienerdog mama and amazing blogger, i.e. inspiration to thousands of lost internet souls.

    Writing is a small part of a balanced life of family, industry, art and friendship. When it hurts (and boy does it ever hurt,) lean on the rest–that’s what it’s there for.

  9. bloglily: ha. yes, retail is great therapy, especially little cute, semi-pragmatic tchotchkes.

    Violeta: thank you for your encouragement. and thank you for reminding me that it’s about the individual connection out there.

    anonwupfan: thank you too for your encouragement–I am glad my blogging inspires!

  10. Don’t give up! You are too good for that.
    But at the same time, maybe you need to give yourself a break. It seems you are trying to do two million things at once and it is too much.
    (I should talk)

  11. greenbeanclouds

    JadePark, hello –

    Could it be that you are struggling because you are birthing a new voice? Although I am (not yet) a long time reader of your blog, it sounds like you’ve had some significant life experience since your original successes as a writer. Perhaps your experiences have so changed you, that the old voice is no longer authentic, and the difficulties you are facing are the first stages on the path to learning how to access and express truth in your new voice.

    Persevere, and you’ll know.


  12. Susan: I feel like I am trying to swim with only one arm. But when it’s time, I will go with the flow and immerse myself in writing and the novel–I think my brain is just screaming for a break right now, despite my will.

    greenbeanclouds: Thank you for stopping by and for your encouraging words. I think yes, I must be going through a transition. So I will just go with the flow for now. πŸ™‚

  13. I agree with greenbeanclouds, think of it as a rebirthing process. There’s an adult in San Diego’s literacy program who went to her library for tutoring after her stroke. She has come a long way over the last 5 years (having to learn the alphabet all over, how to hold a pencil, putting words together). You will get through these moments of doubt and when you do, it will make the story you share with your readers that more meaningful.

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