Months ago, I wrote a blog post called Blogging, Disabilities and Other Stuff. After I hit publish, I realized that The Other Stuff is the tile of my blog. Possibly, and unintentionally, I may have defined the other stuff. In this post, the only other stuff besides blogging and disabilities is my insecurity over whether I’m a good enough writer to compete in the real world.
I’ve blogged for almost six years. In this time, I’ve written a total of three hundred stories, give or take. Most have been posted, some anonymously on separate site I keep for anonymous postings, and some, too provocative to post, I stuck in the vault, never to see the light of day again. Sucks. I’ve got some good stuff in that vault.
As a blogger, I get to publish anything I want. No one else decides for me. I’ve published multilayered essays, rambling stories that never make a point, poetry, humor, fiction, some videos, lots and lots of nonfiction and even some experimental pieces I define as prose-poetry. It’s all good enough to publish because I say it is.
Of course, readers weigh in on this. Some of my favorite posts, the ones I love the most, are all but ignored, whereas posts that I’ve dashed off as a rant or a lark get dozens of likes. Every now and then, the readers and I agree. We all like something I wrote.
When I wrote Blogging, Disabilities and Other Stuff, I had just finished writing a short story called Different Lives. I worked on it—toiled, I’d say—for weeks. Sometimes I loved it, and sometimes I hated it. I kept tweaking it until I ultimately couldn’t decide whether I loved it or hated it, so I called it done. I sent it out to a dozen literary reviews to be considered for publication.
Handing over the decision whether something is good enough to publish to an editor is, for me, agonizing. As soon as I started sending out my story, I also started checking my email obsessively looking for a response. I quickly determined that I’m not a good enough writer, too deliberate, lacking nuance, not classy enough to be published anywhere but my blog.
I’m happy to report that as of yesterday, Different Lives is part of the June edition of the Bangalore Review. No, I hadn’t heard if it either, but after reading the masthead, I think it’s a perfect place for me to land.
Please take fifteen minutes to read DIFFERENT LIVES. I still don’t know if I love or hate this story, but I couldn’t be prouder of it.
I’d like to thank Nicole and Kim for beta-reading the story, and Annie and Binder Smiff for offering consultation and advice on the medical passages. And of course, thank you to Susan for saying, No, Jeff, this doesn’t suck.