Upon Wit’s End: How the Near-Fatal Sting of Rejection Invokes Passion

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ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019. 

When I was twenty-eight years old, I was smack dab in the middle of working on my master’s degree. A few years prior, I had just gotten fired for the first time in my life and I was so lost, so depressed, and I was essentially an empty shell of a woman. I lived in my bathrobe as I wrote paper after paper trying to finish up my degree. I overate and ate the worst possible foods ever, I watched a lot of t.v., I played online Scrabble endlessly for hours when I wasn’t working on school work, and I isolated myself from the outside world. The only thing that was going right for me was my educational path which I clung to for dear life.

One afternoon, my sister came home from work and forwarded me this writing contest. She told me to give it a shot and that the prize money was worth at least entering. So I did. I wrote this short story called, “A Breath of Freedom,” which I happened to include in my Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 2, nearly ten years later. Anyhow, one day I received a letter saying that I had won third place in the competition and was awarded $500. At the time, I had never cried so hard with gratitude. I had desperately needed that cash. I was able to use that money to buy my family Christmas presents that year. It was a true Christmas miracle. I even took my mother and sister down to Princeton to receive my award. I was even in the newspaper for the first time in my life. That period in my life was truly momentous and I will always be grateful to my sister for passing along that opportunity. I also remember showing my father that piece of writing. This was way before his diagnosis with dementia. He was a writer and artist as well and I remember him telling me that my story was corny after he read it. Instead of congratulating his daughter and encouraging her to move forward with writing, I was met with resentment and jealousy. I shook it off and didn’t let that sully this incredible event that happened in my life. This came at a time I needed to regain confidence, regain faith, regain the belief that somehow, someway, everything was going to work out alright for me. I needed this push in the right direction. I went on to finish my masters and work on my doctorate subsequently after and spent several years after that substitute teaching and long-term subbing.

In 2016, I was once again at a difficult crossroads in my life. I was laid off from a really wonderful teaching gig I had acquired. Being done with schooling, and wanting to finally start my life, I, yet again, was ousted from this security net I was provided with and found myself once more lost, uncertain of the future, scared, and most of all poor. I had to do something, and fast. I had been wanting to be a writer for as long as I could remember. When I went to Virginia the first year for my residency hours while working on my doctorate, I came across several amazing individuals. This one person, I will never forget, said something so profound on the last day of our residency that it stayed with me to this day. He said to our professor, “You’ve awoken a passion within me that I never knew I had.” That is what writing provided for me. Writing gave me a voice, which I never had before. Writing gave me a passion, which I was never allowed to have before. Writing became my salvation, my redemption, my hope, my peace, my sanctuary, my escape from all that ailed me. Writing became my therapist, my best friend, my confidante. Writing became my past time, my joy, my anguish, my pain. I spent hours, upon hours writing down everything that had ever hurt me in my entire life–every painful memory that still entraps me to this day. Writing gave me a release, gave me a reason, an excuse to finally let things go. Writing gave me permission to finally be the human being I had always wanted to be. Writing gave me purpose–a reason to get up in the morning. Writing became the one and only thing that no one could take away from me.

Since I’ve started writing in 2016, I’ve released so many pieces through Amazon. For funding, I’ve submitted side pieces to hundreds of organizations, magazines, contests, freelance opportunities, etc. But I had not been able to have a lightning strike for me twice since that day in 2009 when I won my first contest. Ten years later, technology is booming at its highest peak. Social media is swelling with promising new writers who practically step over each other, so desperate to be heard. My work has persistently gone unnoticed for years. I receive rejection more than I hear praise. If it wasn’t for my voice over artist/editor/mentor/newfound friend I’d quit completely. She has become such an advocate for my writing and encourages me to keep going every day.

 

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Writing provides me with so many ups and downs emotionally. There are some days where I feel so triumphant for how successful I was with my writing progress. I can belt out six thousand words in a day no problem and re-read everything and I feel such pride for how much I have grown as a writer over the years. Then there are the setbacks when I receive yet another discouraging rejection letter. I feel trapped sometimes. I feel like time is running out for me. Heavily in debt and fearful for my future, I often wonder how I became this foolish. I often blame myself and punish myself for not being “normal” like everyone else. I hate that I’m different. I hate that I stand out. I hate that my path has always been more difficult than other people. I just want to be like everyone else. But I know I never will be.

It’s been one heck a year for me. I have had to re-teach myself how to be strong and independent and break myself away from that mentality of being someone’s fiance. I hated that at first. I resented it even. I felt like Bella Swan from Twilight during the time she was away from Edward. You live your life and the time passes by around you but you’re not living. You’re barely breathing. You’re barely eating. You have no memory of the months that zoomed past you. You’re just surviving. Surviving was the very least my body was capable of in those lonely winter months. But then the sun comes out one day and its bright triumphant beams hit you smack dab in the eyes in the early morning and you wake up finally transformed and metamorphosed and you think, “Finally.” You finally breathe, eat, smell that fresh air, and feel the magnitude of what you’ve been through. You recall the harsh lessons learned. You become more protected, more guarded, more aware of your surroundings. You trust less, but you’re still you to the outside world, just this more polished version. I am not my mistakes. I am not my past. I am not my failures. I’m more than that. Way more. And with every rejection I receive, I’m only that much more determined to keep trying. To keep improving. To keep writing like I’ve never written before. If you don’t believe in me, who cares, I’ll keep writing until I find someone who will believe in me. I don’t write for you. I write for me. I write to keep going in this crazy world. I write for meaning, for inspiration, for perspective, for peace, for sanity. I write to make others see that triumph really does spawn from tragedy if you just keep going and let that sun reach your face. I will not give up. I will not allow you or anyone else to dampen my spirit any longer. Reject my words but somehow, somewhere, someway, someone will embrace me and I cannot wait for that day and tell you all about it.

PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess’ Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/psglopes

In Recovery-My first Song Single-The Story Behind the Lyrics

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ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

I have been dabbling with writing song lyrics since I was a little girl. I was absolutely obsessed with Celine Dion when I was about twelve years old. I played her cassette tapes so often that they’d get destroyed and my older brother would have to keep buying me new ones because I just couldn’t stop listening! I became obsessed with her voice, with the songs she sang, and everything about music in general. I started toying around with music lyrics and even dreamed of one day being able to write a song for someone as amazing as Celine Dion to sing it. As I got older, my tastes in music evolved, adapted, and grew. I still love and appreciate Celine Dion but my tastes have definitely darkened over the years.

My song, “In Recovery,” is definitely a dark song but it’s often misinterpreted. This is a love song about a love that started off positive and nurturing and just turned toxic. This was inspired by a real-life love I had once upon a time and that experience inspired not only the lyrics for this song but for a future book series that I’d eventually like to tackle someday soon.

The song is featured on SoundCloud but is also on Amazon as a compact disc to purchase. The lyrics and melody are my own. Because I didn’t have the means to sing the song myself in a studio and am not knowledgeable in the equipment or software I’d need to record the song myself, I hired outside musicians to record the track. The song is fully registered with ASCAP. I am a member of ASCAP publishing. This was one of the funnest projects I got to work on. Writing can be a very lonely profession. My favorite moments are when I get to network and work with others and collaborate.

My first exposure with collaboration was with this wonderful photographer I met believe it or not while doing my nails (Ironically, this was the last time I’d get my nails done because I just can’t afford such extravagances anymore). She heard my story about how I was a teacher and decided to leave the profession to pursue my writing full-time. She decided to take a professional photograph of me and use it for a series she was working on similar to Humans of NY. That was the first time I actually felt legitimized as a writer. I felt respected in my field and I felt that all of the hardships I had endured in my life all led me to this moment.

The collaborations continued after that with other amazingly talented people. The group who worked on making “In Recovery” happen were amazing. What they do is a great concept. Having a group of musicians and producers help you cut your single and get a suitable demo ready is genius, really! And what I liked the most is that I own the rights to the song 100%. That was very important to me. Having limited funding sucks because you’re at the mercy of others to help you get things done. I hate allowing myself to feel vulnerable and putting others in charge of something that I created but I was grateful that this turned out to be a positive experience.

Earlier this year, I was able to interview a former student of mine on my Podcast and that was also an awesome experience. She is an established comedienne and actress. She is so smart, so talented, and so carefree. She is fearless and I am so proud and so inspired by her positive outlook on life. I interviewed her shortly after I had broken up with my fiance and I feel that having the experience interviewing her gave me the confidence and courage to keep going in my pursuit of creativity.

Since then, I was featured in two newspaper articles celebrating the two books I have published this year so far: My second children’s book and my third poetry anthology.

The next thing I was able to work on this year was creating an audiobook for my first novella, A Wynter’s Tale. I am grateful to have met a wonderful voice-over artist who took on the challenge of reading my novella. She did such an amazing job bringing my characters to life.

I am truly blessed being able to have accomplished everything that I have so far in my creative work. I am working constantly on creating new work, working on my paid pursuits via freelancing and other leads I find. I am excited to be able to continue to pursue my passion in life and that is creating new writing, music, and art for everyone to enjoy.

I am about 75% done writing my second novella, John of Art. The story is really taking shape. I am pleased with where things are heading in the story. The story flows well and I feel that I have created strong characters that many will able to relate to when they read my work. I am searching for an editor to edit my novella once I have finished my first draft. I am also in the market for musicians to help me with a song single that I want to produce that will coincide with the release of the novella. That’s my motivation for starting Patreon. I realize that my ambitions are growing along with my passion and I need help! Up until now, I have been doing things myself in terms of the writing, formatting, book cover, art, illustrations, etc. My sister was my editor for everything up until this point but she wishes to retire LOL. I am grateful to my sister and my mother who have been so super supportive from the very beginning. I am very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given. I love learning new things and I am constantly striving to do better than the previous work I’ve done. ¬†This journey is definitely a complicated one and one that I am proud to be on. I don’t take anything for granted and recognize how fortunate I am to be given such a gift to be able to write full-time.

Thank you all for reading more about me and what I do. I have embedded my first song single “In Recovery” for you all to listen to and enjoy. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the song. Let me know what you think. Thanks, everyone! Have a great Saturday!

View PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess’ Patreon Page Here