Today I did something I haven’t done in awhile. I submitted my writing for publication.
It’s another thing that I’ve put on hold for so long because of my writing name worries. I was in utter paralysis about my work because of it. I still submitted worked occasionally (like, once or twice a year), some under Emilia Jordan, some under my real name, and worried how it would complicate things if anything ever got accepted under either name.
But I’m ready to move forward again. Over the last couple of months, I did deep revisions on two of my personal essays, “Reasonable Doubt” and “Distant Light.” These are the two essays that felt the closest to publishable, and though I’d put off revising them for awhile, sometimes years, because it felt so daunting, I finally undertook revising both of them (thanks quarantine?) and got both to a place where I felt they were ready to be sent out.
After years of wanting to change my author name, pen name, pseudonym, whatever you want to call it, I finally did it.
I wanted April as my first name like a day (if that) after I went forward with my old name Emilia Jordan back in 2012 and it only took me about eight years to admit I still wanted April Something as my writing name and to actually change it. I wanted both first and last names to be female names, so here you have it…
In some ways, I feel like I’ve been struggling with my name since I started this blog, and probably beforehand. I posted about that in 2015, and almost five years later, I still feel completely stuck on the name thing.
What I’ve come to admit, pretty soon after writing that post, is that I just don’t like this pen name I’ve chosen. I liked Emilia Jordan as a whole but I never stopped to ask myself if I liked Emilia alone, if I could get used to being called that, and the answer ended up being no, I don’t and I couldn’t. It was a bit rash at the time – I so badly wanted to launch my site and get things off the ground that I didn’t let the name sit. If I had, I think even for a week, I would’ve gone with something else. I had almost immediate Pen Name Chooser’s Regret over not going with April as the first name.
So, it has left me stuck now, for years. Do I go with my real name? Do I forge ahead with Emilia Jordan even though I don’t really like it? Do I pick something new with April as the first name? I’m still mulling it over, and still feel like I can’t submit any writing until I decide, coalesce everything into one name.
I originally started this blog to write about writing, and TV, and disability issues, and science, and music but I also struggle with blogging. Sometimes it feels more like a duty than something I enjoy doing. That’s especially true when I’m so busy with school and my job, and just trying to find time to write is a real challenge.
This year, I set a goal to write at least 4 days a week for at least an hour. That doesn’t add up to a lot, just 4 hours a week, and yet it’s still been difficult to find that time. Most weeks, I’ve met that goal, but there’ve been a few weeks I didn’t. There have been lots of weeks, like this last one, where I spent as much time writing as I would on a full-time job.
So, I’ve spent a lot of time since signing up for the test trying to make a (somewhat) realistic, doable and foolproof study plan, as if such a thing could exist.
I took stock of all my old study materials, all the resources out there now, and of how I did on the Sample Test, as well as a half-diagnostic from a company called Next Step. That was interesting, sorta reflective of the official Sample Test except I did a bit lower on everything, and somehow did worse on CARS (verbal reasoning) than I did on psych/soc (which is just so weird to me because I haven’t taken those classes in over a decade and really don’t remember anything so it was mostly guessing, funny how that worked better for me than actually trying to think through the CARS section). From those two samples, I made a list of what my weaker areas are.
I haven’t posted new content in a really long time.
With my blog, I always have a lot of questions and doubts about posting.
-Should I continue to post writing samples, even though some publications consider that as being “previously published”?
-Do I still write about TV now that Breaking Bad is long over, and some of the other shows I would write about are not at all in the same genre?
-Do I still post about disability, knowing that it could alienate people, or that I could (and do sometimes) get frustrated in the lack of understanding that can result?
-What do I do when life is really busy? What about the fact that my natural style is to post in fits and starts rather than something more steady when I know that steady is better?
-With every post, should I post it? Should I not? What if it’s too edgy? What if it pisses people off? What if I get a lot of internet troll commenters all of a sudden? -What do I do about my name?
Here it is, the final installment in this trilogy of posts about a recent crazy creative journey (Read Part 1 – The High and Part 2 – Coming Down here) of writing a crazy screenplay called (for now anyway) Sweet Acid. Not that the journey of writing this screenplay is over–I still have tons of editing to do, and then need to figure out what I want to do with it–but that the crazy emotional creativity roller coaster has subsided.
And as for what got me back to normal? It’s nothing shocking. I think just about every working writer or artist or creative person in any field has said this. The cure for all that insane intensity–the good, the bad, the swinging between the extremes–is to keep doing the work.
And in a certain way, it’s still there. I’m still excited about the project and had a great time talking about it yesterday with the friend who my character Lenne is based on. But I also experienced the other side of the creative process, the doubt and self-loathing, the coming down off the drug-like high of creating.
The crash came along with writing the end of the first draft of the screenplay. Maybe it was just the fact that the initial mad dash creative side of the project was over. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel excited about this project so much as terrified.
Another installment from my bitchy essay about blindness. It should be noted that this incident I’m describing, and the writing about the incident, took place before I took organic chemistry and discovered that it was my academic subject soulmate.
It affects everything. As a blind person, you quickly learn all the coded ways that potential employers dress up, “I won’t hire you because you’re blind,” or the coded way potential dates dress up, “I don’t want to go out with you because you’re blind.” It often doesn’t matter how well you present yourself, how positive and open you are about discussing your blindness and showing that you do and feel and are the same things as other humans. There are still countless ways that people deny your full human dignity.
Holy fucking roller coaster, Batman. And the ride isn’t over.
The last two weeks have been a completely new kind of writing experience for me. It feels a little weird to be able to say that at 33 years old, especially considering I was writing little stories since, like, first grade. But it’s true.
It was so intense. It felt kinda like how I imagine being manic might feel. It felt like being in love. It felt like being on reeeeeeeally good drugs. It was all rushing and inspiration and not being able to sleep and waking up early with ideas and thoughts of how to work parts of it together. And it was a lot, lot, lot of writing.
Here’s what happened. For my university, there is a requirement called a senior capstone. I’ve resisted it as long as I could, putting it off term after term, imagining the anonymous diatribes I wanted to write against the requirement in the school paper as if that could somehow exempt me from having to take a capstone class. But this winter, I had to sign up, so I picked Research Experience for Science Majors, hoping to, you know, get some research experience.