A Punch to the Gut

by jonnahzkennedy

This is not my typical, mostly positive post guys, if there is anyone reading this still, rather I’m feeling terribly down but it gave me inspiration to write and to give advice I suppose (if you want the advice, skip to the very end, I think that’s just all about you’ll want to stand, plus it epitomizes the mood of this lonesome song).

I knew that I was a bad writer all along. I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. 

I do not often receive criticism for my work because, like a shop on main street overshadowed by Wal-Mart, it always go unnoticed. I have published two works of fiction in the past 2 years: The Maze Games and The Place Beyond the Courtyard: Violence. The Maze Games I know full and well is a terrible novel that I don’t think anyone deserves to have to sit through. The Place Beyond the Courtyard, on the other hand, is what I like to think of as one of my best works to date (aside from a short story I wrote for the Texas Book Festival, praying, even though I don’t believe, that it wins), yet: people only purchased it when it went on sale for free. No one left a review for it. Today, it was tossed at me again that my grammar sucks, and that in truth, I know nothing about the writing process at all. If anything, all the things I’ve told you guys over the past few months might as well be regurgitated bullshit, hogwash and nothing more, because if I was a true writer, I would be able to take a little criticism, and I have before for an unpublished work that was mostly well received, but I’ve been rejected by every agent I’ve queried (I may start querying again, you guys don’t comment, so I don’t know if I should ask if you know how to find more agents).

Anyhow, I’ve sent my writing through a couple of people; most never finish it or get past the first chapter, and maybe it’s not from lack of interest, but because they’re trying to gain something themselves. I have never had a genuine beta reader. I’m incredibly thankful that my English teacher helped me with my short story for the Texas Book Fair because that little story really helped my Voice and my writing and we have so much faith in it that if we don’t win we’d march down to Austin and ask them specifically why it didn’t win and then tell them why it should have. But, no one seems to have ever been interested in my writing, and the odds seem to be working against me: I’m a kid whose just about to enter High School, I have no other hobbies aside from writing, yesterday was the first day this entire summer someone has asked me to do something with them, I spend most of my time alone, and I’m far from handsome or fit. I’m a loser above all else I guess, and while writing has always been a consultation for me (it still is, a couple of weeks ago I wrote two poems that really helped me stop feeling so down, and this post is starting to perk me up some, but not a lot), that never meant that I was good at it.

The reason I started writing is because there was once a writer who said something like, “If there is a story out there that you want to read but isn’t written, then you need to write it,” and Stephen King said, “Have you ever read a book and said, ‘This really sucks’? You then say, ‘I could do better,'” I always wanted to write the stories that I have never been able to find out there: in my early years a mega action packed adventure that was written for fun called the Maze Games, a story in a truly gruesome world that is the epitome of dystopia called the Place Beyond the Courtyard. Stories that I never found, or maybe I just didn’t look hard enough, but there was never a person who had written like Poe or Dostoevsky (my icons) in a dystopian world and I always thought that their descriptive writing and beauty was perfect for my work, so I infused them into my voice, and all I get is more silence, ‘For there is more silence in the world than there is food, water, power, or even life itself; silence is the almighty force, the God of the Universe, though not many of us choose to believe in him for the fact that he is silent, and he will not answer our prayers’ a quote from the Place Beyond the Courtyard that my English teacher called the moment when he said, ‘Wow, this kid can write’ and ever sense he had been pushing me to write something just as great, to make a statement that truly makes my writing worth it. I doubt anyone has ever read those words other than my English teacher and I. 

I once wrote for enjoyment. I don’t know what I do know, but I don’t think I’m enjoying it so much as I want to. Am I writing for money, really? Am I writing for golden recognition? Am I writing just because it’s what I’ve always done? 

“Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.”– Christopher Hitchens 

Maybe it’s time that I simply rejoined the readership and put my Voice to rest because it’s of ill use, it’s strained and I’m screaming at the top of my lungs but there is no one in the parlor listening. 

“From childhood’s hour, all that I have loved, I have loved alone,” Edgar Allan Poe 

The moral of the story, children, is: get criticism as often as you can, because the man who is always criticized will forever be stronger than the man who never is, for the man who is will smile when someone tells him his teeth are jagged; the other man will kill himself. 

Be strong, write on, and fly high