Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Friday, January 20, 2012

What, Exactly, Is My Problem?

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.


Stephen Hayes said...

It's not a good idea to self diagnose. But it is helpful to examine your actions and learn from them. Get your work out there and let the chips fall where they may. You just might be surprised.

Chivimi said...

Narcissistic or not, you are talented enough to write, submit, and win. I do not understand why you have not been published more than you have already. I found you through Mommy Needs a Xanax's old blog years ago and immediately loved it. It became a ritual for me to go from her blog to your blog nightly. It would be a treat if I found you had both posted the same night. So I guess I'm trying to say...pull up them britches and get to work!

Tammy said...

I'm so sick, my first thought was, "teachers have lives??" I vote you send in that kick-butt column.

Val said...

I think I'm just making excuses for procrastination.

Thanks. I need to submit for publication, now that I've had a bit of success in contests.

So you were with MommyNeeds during her basement years, perhaps. Or just after, in the throes of her teaching tribulations. She, too, needs to get her work out. Those kids can raise themselves. Mine did!

I know. Hard to believe, huh? I'm not sure they're still running that column. The last issue did not have it. Maybe there's a dearth of material. I need to ask my colleague, who contributes real educational articles quite regularly. Then again, I might as well submit. "Don't cost nothin'," as John Belushi taught me in Animal House. It has a back-to-school kind of theme. So I need to get right on it.

Chivimi said...

I found her somewhere between the basement and teaching. I agree,she is just as talented and needs to get the work out there so it too can be enjoyed by the masses. Both of you have a gift to share with the rest of us.

labbie1 said...


Val said...

I think she was way more on the ball than I was, but got sidetracked with her motherly duties.

Thanks for the advice. Did you, perchance, used to write ad copy for Nike?