making failure phallic

I’m learning to love failure. I’m learning to eye it with hunger. I’m learning to break it into kindling-sized pieces small enough to pile in my belly for whenever I need a fire. I’m learning to thrive off of failure, I’m–

I’m learning that this thing I’ve named failure isn’t failure.

It’s a crag. An ocean. The space between planets, stars. But nothing that can stop me. Anyway, it’s not like any of my many rejection letters are telling me to stop (not that STOP would ever actually stop me). Sometimes they don’t care whether I write or not: form rejections that start with thank you for and end with no thanks. Often, they’re personalized notes that ask for more (which is good, encouraging–a little extra air in my tank so my lungs don’t starve as I thrash along towards the far end of the Milky Way). Maybe they don’t want my story, but not a single one has yet told me what shit I am (though I once thoroughly confused a slush reader at Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine).

But maybe they think it. Or maybe they know I hear it from myself plenty already and don’t need the encouragement, or that they just can’t be bothered. Or, more likely, they’re just decent human beings with giant slush piles. I’m not a failure to them, or anyone else–I just didn’t fit or I wasn’t good enough.

But again–not failure. What is it, then? Pushing my limits, ignoring them. Breaking my thinking bones so they can re-grow in new illogical ways, so I can use them in new, illogical ways.

And then, after all that, sometimes I win.

Sometimes I get a poem published. Sometimes I get two.

Today, Strange Horizons is publishing Tattertongue. (Link to be posted when the poem is.)

The day before yesterday, I got good news about another poem.

Cocoa-derived celebration ensued.