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  • Writer's pictureChris Russell

Friday Night Feels

Hello my long suffering survivor friends, this is Chris, and this is not a new episode, it is an announcement.

Life got in the way and I’m unable to release Season 4, Episode 20 today on schedule.  If you were one of the 483 members of our Facebook Group you would know this already, but I figured I’d do the respectful thing and drop an audio notice here as well. 

This is not something I take lightly.  One of my strongest, most heartfelt, commitments is keeping to the publishing schedule for the podcast. 

I may be wrong, but I’m assuming there is a cadre of you who download and listen each week as they are dropped and for those people, I am violating a trust.  I’m honored to serve you; I don’t take it lightly and I apologize deeply.

Then there will be others of you who are binge listening through the series and hit this point and think to yourselves, “What the heck is this dope talking about?”  For those time travelers I’ll leave this notice here as a token. 

A token to the fact that this is a human enterprise.  Pause in your fast forwarding and consider that.  A human enterprise. 

With all the frailty and baggage. 

With all the enthusiasm and love.

With all the untidy things that bundle all human enterprises.

Were that we were machines and could not break down. 

But we are human, and that is sublime.

So, I am working on it and will get it out shortly.

But, the lesson here, because if you’re curious there is always a lesson, the lesson is to not be so damn hard on yourself. 

Friends, you are doing the best you can.  Give yourself a Mulligan every now and then. You have my permission.

In lieu of a new episode let me tell you a fun story.

One of the ingenious ways I found to procrastinate this week was to submit a short story to one of the online science fiction podcasts.  It is a story I wrote a few years back and I had been ruminating over the last few months that it might be a good fit to recycle somewhere. 

I found it, did a pass of editing and sent it off. 

This, is not the fun part of the story. 

A couple days later I got an email from them saying that although I was surely a brilliant and handsome, talented fellow, the story was not a good fit for them. 

This too, is not the fun part of the story… 

I hadn’t invested much emotionally or otherwise in the submission process.  It turns out it’s a fairly automated process and everyone uses the same submission workflow software.  That was fun to figure out. 

So – how do you think I felt about this automated rejection message? 

Was I depressed?  Was I angry?  Was I shouting Why? Why? Why? At the heavens?

No.  I was not… 

I felt oddly pleased that 1) I had written something, 2) I had the gumption to submit it, and 3) they  were able to reject it quickly and kindly. 

But, here too the funny part does not reside…

As these oddly pleasant thoughts were percolating through my morning cerebrum I was also looking at Facebook, (another great procrastination technique).  (If there were an Olympics for procrastination, I would be a real threat to medal, even if the Russian athletes were doping.)

The funny part is I happened to see a post on a page that I frankly look at only when all the other good sources of procrastination are exhausted, or I have a question about ISBN numbers – it’s a group called Writers Helping Writers.

And I don’t frequent it because it the same series of posts over and over again…

It’s starts with “Hey, I’m finally getting around to writing my novel does anyone have any ideas?”

Then it progresses to “I’m halfway through my first draft and I’m stuck on a metaphor about rutabagas…”

Then you get, “Yay, after 17 years I finished my novel!”

And finally, “I published my novel and no one bought it and I’m considering ending it all!”

Since the blinking cursor was already in front of me I wrote, and I quote, “Got my first rejection email this morning - made me feel strangely accomplished.”

And heedlessly went on with my day. 

You can tune back in now – this is the funny part.

Then my Facebook starts blowing up.  Literally blowing up.  Kaboom.

It appears I struck a nerve with the angsty starving authors.

As of today – about 48 hours later at this writing – I have 815 ‘likes’, (or whatever those emoticon thingies are that allow people to tentatively express support without requiring actual empathy), and 121 encouraging comments, some quite lengthy, (and well written of course).

That’s the funny part.

As I was commiserating with a New York Times Best Selling author, (who reached out and befriended me because of said throw-away post) – Isn’t that always the way? 

As a creative you can worry and sweat and pour your effort, talent and love into a piece and it will flop on the digital floor ignored and unloved. 

Then you dash off a quick, thoughtless piece about your dog and it goes viral.

And that my friends is the lesson, because, like I said, ‘there is always a lesson’.  We as creative do not get to decide the value of our work.  Our calling is not to judge our work. 

Our calling is to set it free. 

When the time is right it will find its home. 

And if you make just one person smile, or curse or role their eyes it has fulfilled its mission.

And so have you.

964 words.

Be good my friends and keep surviving.

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