By Ginny Padgett
This blog spot is a great resource for aspiring writers, full of good counsel and information. Today I’d like to share a different kind of advice that has been balm to my frayed creative nerves. The source is Dan Albergotti, one of the submission judges for the 2007 Petigru Review. I hope this will bring you the sigh of relief I heaved when I read this.
Albergotti observes, “To present your own writing for the world’s judgment is…an act of courage…The only true gauge of you work lies in your own mind and heart. And if you give too much credence to publication and awards as indicators of your artistic achievement, you risk squelching that one true measure – that critic inside yourself who really knows the score.”
He goes on to cite an essay, “Why Write?” (The Cincinnati Review, 2.1, Spring, 2005), written by his teacher and mentor, Alan Shapiro. “Recognition through publication and awards is ‘like cotton candy: It looks ample enough until you put in your mouth, then it evaporates. All taste and no nourishment.’(106)”
Alborgetti cautions the aspiring writer about the danger of being too critical of her work. Again, this part really spoke to me regarding my sense of failing at my chosen art. “Do not succumb to that sense of failure. It is a natural feeling, but it is not true. If you ignore it – if you continue to write regardless of publication or public approbation or immediate personal satisfaction – you will not be failing. That ‘deepening sense of failure’ is what success feels like.”
Bless you, Dan Albergotti! These words helped put my fingers back on the keyboard and, in some strange way, gave me the courage to submit my work for publication again.
I want to leave you with this amazing fact. In her lifetime, Emily Dickinson saw only TEN of her 1600+ poems published. Write on, my friends.