Writing = A Viral Delusion

Recent rejections from Missouri Review,which is my fave university-affiliated literary journal in the states, as well as from The Atlantic, Smokelong Quarterly, and from Elise Proulx, a lit agent out of San Fran, has made me pensive. Not snarly as I sometimes get, but pensive. My rejection from Missouri was a fantastic one, so good in fact that I didn't understand why it got rejected, but I can't help but wonder sometimes why any of us write. why we spend so much time creating something so few people get the chance to appreciate. It's funny, sometimes I feel like being a writer is just a viral delusion. We're infected with this idea that we have something important and interesting to tell the world, even if no one else sees it, not workshop morticians or journal editors, not lazy readers or family members, not consumers of glossies or random strangers. Really, so much of what we write never reaches anyone but we refuse to accept the blatant rejection of our art that is so universal and frequent, almost conspiratorial, but not that efficient. If you took away our stories, we would be, in a word, insane. We insist on a reality no one else sees or conforms to, we tell ourselves that we are writers even if we can't live by it, even if no one reads our stories, even if journals won't publish our fiction, we insist--correctly might I add, even necessarily--that everyone has it wrong, and someday, they'll get it right.

Being a writer is like playing make-believe, trying to get everyone else to play along. But even when they do, we think two things: what took you so long, and what's wrong with you?