Writing is a career of long, long plateaus where there is only the work, punctuated by the flurry of peaks and valleys that come when the work goes out into the world. And every now and then you get a peak …
I’m not saying this right.
When I started writing again, this time, Djibril al-Ayad was one of the first people I crossed paths with online, and The Future Fire was one of the first publications that made me hopeful that this genre scene (as opposed to the one I left circa 1990) was in fact my scene, that there might be a corner of it that would welcome my work. Imposter syndrome kept me from submitting to TFF, but I followed their publications avidly. It’s important work they’re doing; to try and write something as meaningful seemed a worthy hill to die on.
I submitted Vacui Magia to their review list, was given an address to send it to, and mailed it with a queasy stomach. Surely, I told myself, they won’t trash it; surely they’ll give it a decent picking over, something in the problematic-but-has-potential vein; surely if they hate it they just won’t review it at all.
Instead, I got this. Which I will confess to printing out and carrying in my pocket in Calgary, for when the anxiety reared its ugly head. Better than a half-dozen breathing and cognitive exercises; reviewers, this is how strong your impact can be.