For Real Friday: Belonging

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I was going to interrupt this for real Friday on how demigods and their modern day equivalents appeal to the universal feeling of being out of place with some pretty major news from my publisher. But then I realized I was still somewhat on topic.

I once attended a workshop by Terry Kay, a fantastic writer of great renown. He walked the workshop through a creative writing exercise with the theme of isolation. When it came to choosing a setting, he was unsurprised when we picked a high school cafeteria. “That’s what everyone picks,” he explained. The loneliest place to be is in a crowd.

Everyone can relate to demigods or super heroes or whatever modern equivalent you want to consider because most of the time their central conflict revolves around a sense of not belonging. Of straddling the line between two worlds and not fully belonging in either. It’s not surprising that most hero stories these days double as coming of age adventures. Persephone wasn’t just struggling with trying to balance her human and divine roles, she struggled with growing up. Leaving who she was behind for who she’d be and trying to like who she is.

It’s not a fun feeling,but there’s a reason it’s a universal experience. Everyone goes through it. I know that knowing that it gets better and that everyone feels like they don’t belong at one point in another during their life only helps so much, but it’s also the only assurance everyone can offer from personal experience.

Somewhat on the topic of feeling out of place is the news I got this morning. Today my publishing house announced they will close at the end of the month and the rights to my series would revert back to me. I was worried something like this might happen, which is why I declined Musa’s offer on Venus and Adonis and have been attempting to query Venus and Adonis with other publishers, but I also know realistically, there’s not a lot of interest in book four of a series. Now, I can query the entire series as a whole and hope for the best or I can choose to self-publish.

I like being published. And while I know self-published authors are writing amazing books and doing really well with them, I liked being able to say I had a publisher, no matter how small. I know I’m not the only one dealing with mixed feelings this morning. Musa had a fairly extensive and supportive staff that worked very hard. Plus hundreds of authors with hundreds of orphaned books. But, like everything else I know eventually, it’ll get better. We’ll figure out what to do next, and who knows. Maybe sometime soon, Persephone and Venus and Adonis will pop on on a physical bookshelf somewhere.

Wish me luck.

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