You ever stand outside in line to get into a popular club or bar? Maybe a restaurant, something really cool and trendy that all your friends just rave about?
Here’s a scene for you. You’re waiting on the line. It’s crawling. You see folks bypassing and getting the VIP status, but that’s fine. You’re just here to have a good time with friends, maybe celebrate a birthday. Normal stuff.
So you get to the door. The doorman barely looks your way and says, “Sorry, wrong shoes.” You look at your shoes. Look at everyone else’s shoes. You even take a peek at the doorman’s shoes and sure enough, not a fucking difference between any of them except yours are red versus everyone else’s green. Well, shit, you think, I got green shoes in my car. So you get off the line, get your green shoes, and get back on line.
Back to the door. “Sorry, that jacket’s not allowed. Wrong brand.”
Well, now this is some bullshit. The jacket is exactly the same as everyone else’s except there’s a logo on the lapel that’s circular instead of triangular. Barely noticeable! You don’t have another jacket, though. This is the jacket you’ve worn to anywhere else like this and it’s never done you wrong.
So you beg. You plead. You mention that you have friends inside. That you’re not the type to cause trouble. You say you’ll go out and get the right jacket next time, hell, maybe they have one inside that you can borrow just for the night. You’re desperate and it shows.
So the doorman, still not looking you in the eye but smiling at everyone else walking on by, says he’ll check. Sure enough, there’s a lost jacket and it’s two sizes too small. You figure, fuck it, just for the night, it’ll be fine. You tear off your jacket, cram yourself into that accepted one like Sunday sausage, and FINALLY, you’re let in.
You make it six steps into the club until you’re shoulder to shoulder with everyone else. Nobody’s moving. Nobody can dance or get a drink. You notice all those VIPs were walking into another vestibule with a staircase leading up to a very roomy space. You turn and spot a club across the street playing the same damn music and with no doorman, no dress code. People are having fun.
Loose metaphors, but I have a point. This is the modern publishing industry for the marginalized writer. Fit the template to get six steps in, but uh oh, you’re not unique enough. That’s for other people.
What I’m trying to say is: don’t beg at the door to get six steps into a club you’ll never dance in. Go to the next club or sneak in through the goddamn back door. Don’t ever destroy yourself to live up to anyone’s expectations but your own.
Because when you’re wearing a jacket two sizes too fucking small, my friends, everyone will notice.