Accepting the failure of desire

by DRM


I’ve been wondering if I have an old rejection letter from Grand Street somewhere in my files.

Ben Sonnenberg, the founder of Grand Street, died this month. He was a young man with an inheritance who wanted to read good writing, so he started a magazine. I was so excited when the first issue came out.  The paper first: it was thick, matte rag stock that felt like the old French journals that published Sartre and Baudelaire. And the writing, solid and unexpected.

I submitted things, poems and stories.  I was never published, you know. I needed the encouragement so much, but I wasn’t able to connect anywhere, couldn’t find my voice, the story that I was supposed to tell, whatever it was going to take to keep me going. A failed writer.

I failed myself.  That’s what a failed artist is: someone who let’s their pride or fear or ego stand between them and Art, who sets a standard that doesn’t accept failure, or, more pointedly, the absence of notice, of success.

This passage has been excerpted from a short essay that you can read here:

An Acceptance of Failed Desire: A Short Essay on Writing