Got a form letter saying I was a semifinalist for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry. I've been a semifinalist or honorable mention in countless contests--even state poetry societies and guilds where they mail out "honorable mention" ribbons--and seem to be stuck there. Maybe lots of folks would love to be stuck this high, but honestly I'm getting tired of it. At first it WAS comforting seeing familiar names beside me (familiar as in I knew them, or more often, I'd become accustomed to seeing their names in close proximity to mine).
But then after a while, several of those names started drifting north. And now, those names win contests. Sometimes repeatedly. This is fine, you have to climb ladders--it's a healthy process--but I guess I must be afraid of heights. I am in real life, as in I make my significant other paint the tops of walls near the ceiling. But maybe I'm also afraid, or can't see, or don't risk enough, or god forbid am too lazy, to not do enough editing to make myself stand out more. But should that be the point? Make myself stand out more, for what? Just to hold a book in my hands that has my name on the cover? Isn't that sacrificing the integrity of my art? Blah.
I'm a writer. And I feel sorry for myself like every other writer and person and cat who begs me for his food at 10:30 at night. But I so eagerly anticipate the mailman every day, have even come to know the exact hum of that car's engine on the street, that when I get a rejection note I feel like I'm being unplugged a little bit more from the world around me. Maybe I can use that solitude to write more. Or maybe I can use it to whine on a blog that no one reads.