I think I have a fear of success.
Many a time, I've had the most scathingly brilliant idea for a submission, to various venues. But rather than nurture those tender seeds in a Styrofoam cup of potting soil on the sunny kitchen table, I let them wither on the vine. Heck. I don't even water them. I'm surprised I'm not kept awake at night by those parched seedlings screaming, "WATER...water...water...for the love of all that is photosynthetic, please give us just a smidgen of water!"
Yet I turn a deaf ear. Retreat to the basement to my recliner, where their pitiful voices grow fainter. Because I don't want people to know that I'm raising scathingly brilliant flora in my breakfast nook. That would be too painful. What if somebody who knows me happened upon one of my crops? I would simply die of embarrassment. Better to kill my produce than risk its consumption by my colleagues.
"Well, Val," you all say. "That's a bit egotistical of you, now isn't it? What makes you think you are such hot stuff that people can't reject your writing? You sound like a gal who would think every man and woman who shops at Save A Lot wants to pick her up."
Point well taken, y'all. That's the valedictorian in me projecting.
Seriously. The quarterly magazine for my state teaching association has had a column for the past year or two that is open to stories from teachers. Go figure. Not an educational kind of column, written by writerly writers in an effort to inform. A column for tales of what teachers like to do after hours. Touching stories about students. Okay. Strike that. Touching, and students should not appear in the same sentence these days. But I think you get my drift. A column for teachers, written by teachers, about their teacherly lives.
I had a really kick-butt column. It's still on my hard drive. But I never sent it. Because I did not want the notoriety if it was published. And I think it might have been. Because some of the columns were not compelling enough for me. Or they had grammatical errors and punctuation faux pas. Not a great advertisement for teachers. I was surprised that nobody spiffed them up before publication. Wacky mechanics aside, I think my writing could have held a candle to some of those stories. Held a candle to them until they went up in flames. Not that I'm criticizing. Because those writers had the guts to submit. And were published.
I think I've got a creative screw loose. And narcissistic tendencies.