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I've posted this meme before, but I think it's worth sharing again. We creatives, no matter the field, have a tendency to be filled with sensitivity, self-doubt, and to be our own worst critics. Our skin grows thicker with each rejection, and we eventually learn to hone our craft as we internalize and then gratefully (and, hopefully, gracefully) apply the breadth of constructive feedback we receive along the way.

I can say that this has definitely been the case for me. After much (and continued) hard work, I've built the confidence to start sending creative non-fiction pieces out into the Universe, and have been rewarded with numerous recent and upcoming publication credits. This is all in an effort to build my resume and writing chops as an author, and my hope is that I will catch the attention of an industry professional that feels connected to my storytelling. I aim to be a voice in the void for sexual abuse and domestic violence survivors, to champion change by providing a personal account of how easy it is—as children raised in abusive environments and as bullied LGBT youth—to fall through the cracks, and to raise awareness that "the system," although designed to help, still fails many abuse sufferers that go unnoticed. 

So far, the feedback has been... strong. Very strong. The subject matter is clearly dark, and I worked hard to place readers directly into the merciless landscape of grief so that they would have no choice but to see, hear, smell, and even taste the rawness, to feel like they, themselves, are part of a family torn apart by addiction, rage, and mental illness. The most common reaction from readers is that they've been emotionally punched in the gut, and I guess, in all honesty, that was exactly my intent. While I consider myself a success story (whatever that means) as an abuse survivor, I'm not here to paint an inspirational picture of what can be when someone pulls themselves out of that chaos. I'm purposefully diving into the dark places, highlighting the fear and shame of being marginalized, of barely scraping by, of fighting a battle both inside and outside of the home and the self—while staying unrelentingly true to what that abuse looks like. What happens when you work to overcome it? Well, that's another story for another time.

You can find MONSTERS in the Matador Review, Eunoia Review, and Twisted Sister literary magazine, as well as in an upcoming publication of Down in the Dirt magazine (November 2017); and RUN, which will be published in Grey Borders magazine in August 2017.

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