(You can find my poetry at melissa dawn poetry)
For as long as I can remember, I have been an aspiring writer. Writing, like reading, was one of my very first loves and since I was about six I have been creating stories of one kind or another. When I was little, there were stories about good faeries who lived in the flowers and rode bumblebees as if they were stories. When I was a bit older, I told my younger brother bedtime stories of his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and his GI Joe figures taking on the evil Cobra and Shredder in New York and eating tons of pizza. When I was a teenager, I poured my teen angst into my poetry and kept it hidden, showing almost no one. I still wrote stories, but poetry was my drug of choice when I was 13-17. I still have my poetry books from that age, yellowing with age and smelling fairly musty now. No matter how many times I’ve moved, I’ve always taken them with me.
But as much as I loved writing poetry, I felt mine was inferior and even, well, lame because mine didn’t rhyme and everyone spoke of poetry and of how it should rhyme. So I stashed my words away, like dirty, pornographic stories until one day, I showed an English teacher of mine when she mentioned a poetry contest. I was 16. Sweet Sixteen and had been kissed. In fact, I had been kissed by one person. The only boyfriend I’d had at the time who had also been the first one to ever raise a hand to me. And that was the subject of the poem that I showed her. She was silent. Too silent. And then, all she said was “but it doesn’t rhyme…” She looked at me, a silent accusation in her eyes saying I should know better and followed up with “maybe in a few years. When you try harder.” I left that day, tears burning my eyes and I never showed anyone else my poetry.
Well that is until the last few years.
I’ve slowly started to show people. I wasn’t met with ridicule or nonsense about rhymes (which hello, why hadn’t my English teacher known what prose or freestyle verse was in the first place?). I was told that my work had passion and pure emotion. Several people said it would be a damn shame if I never shared my prose with others. And that’s what I started to do.
I started sharing on Tumblr and on Instagram every once in awhile. And this week, I did something that has scared me for so long. I submitted a book proposal for my poetry and prose.
Yes! I fucking did it! I won’t lie. When I hit send, I was shaking and also burst into tears. It was such a load off of me because I FINALLY faced a fear and chose to show strangers, and not just any strangers, but strangers who will read my raw words and judge if I’m worthy enough to have a book published. It’s a scary thought.
Let’s be honest now. The chances of me being accepted and offered a book deal are … low, to say the least. Not many aspiring writers are accepted on their first submission. That’s not being negative, that’s just plain, hard facts. Also, I’m not the best writer. I never thought I was. I enjoy it. I have passion for it. My work stems from my emotions and it helps me relax and focus again, but I’m certainly not saying it’s the best. But it’s real and it’s relatable, which is something I’ve heard quite a bit. So if that unlikely scenario happened, I’d be screaming at the top of my lungs and dying at the same time, but if they come back and say “thanks but no thanks”, that’s okay. Because at the very least, I took the first steps down that scary road of publishing and THAT alone is something to be proud of.
I have to wait up to ninety days to hear back, or so they said. And yeah, I’ll probably refresh my email several times a day. But even if I get a rejection letter, I’m going to frame that sucker because I still did it.