Imposters

Quoting Kipling is such a cliché at this point, not to mention controversial. Especially IF—, the poem read at every high school graduation. A poem beloved of people (like me) who don’t read as much poetry as they probably should.

That said . . .

At certain times in life, I often find lines from IF— coming back to me. Like tonight:

“If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same”

This evening, while attending an online Zoom event to promote the Writers of the Future anthology, I got a response on my most recent novel submission. A rejection. This one was from my dream publisher, so it aches a little bit.

At almost the same moment I read that email, someone in the Zoom chat directed a comment to me, telling me how much they loved my story and asking about the writing process. A small triumph, but a meaningful one. It reminded me of Kipling’s warning about triumph and disaster, and how, really, neither one is quite what it seems.

Of course, by posting this, I’m ignoring another piece of Kipling’s advice:

“If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss

Which may be a melodramatic way of referring to what is, in the scheme of things, a very small loss, and also may show that I am somewhat melodramatic AND something of a contrarian, if you haven’t yet noticed that.

I think it’s okay for me to let this moment ache a little bit.

But tomorrow, I’m going to turn around and submit this novel somewhere else. And I’m going to keep writing.

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