Friday, September 2, 2011

Gatekeepers


Remember when you were a kid at recess and the captains picked out teams based on a simple and fair process of selecting the best players, one at a time, until everyone was assigned a team and then the fun could start?  I always got picked first, if not by the first captain then by the next one.  Hell, sometimes I was the captain, and got to do the picking.  Having the power to choose was pretty cool; but, getting picked first had its own merit too.  You were “in” in either case.  Your ability to play, or better, to choose other players, was trusted, even respected.  

Do you remember that feeling?  I walked taller, bolder.  What a rush!  

However, the days of getting picked first are long gone.  I don’t get picked first for anything anymore.  Getting picked last wouldn’t suck too much at this point.  My war in life seems to be against the gatekeepers, those captains of the playground.

Getting published is my number one goal, as a writer, and well, as a human being who needs to aim for something big.  Writing is hard work, and while my voice may lack the obvious polish and place, I’m no less passionate about connecting with words.  In fact, that’s why I write period: to connect.  And, I want to be picked!

Gatekeepers are usually the pawns of establishment, parading about on a giant chessboard, where if you win, you gain access to something, whatever it is.  If you lose, then you sulk back to your cave and plot a little more.  Gatekeepers throw their arms up and make a lot of noise and guard admission like deadly sentries.  The gatekeepers stand in your way.

Remember the playground losers?  Remember all the stragglers, the awkward and clumsy kids that got picked last, or not at all?  They were found lacking on all accounts.  Everything.  They lacked skill, for starters (a pun.. I love those).  Add to that they lacked respect.  And if not for a playground duty teacher to speak up on their behalf -- to make sure they weren't denied -- the un-chosen would be ridiculed into leaving with only their uncoordinated bodies and tears to comfort them in some far-away corner well away from the action.    

I’m not saying the gatekeepers might require more talent; that’s probably fair.  Nor would I argue that whosoever wants a shot gets a shot.  And I’m certainly not arguing for a recess duty equal opportunity type to punch my card and force the gatekeepers’ hands.  But I would ask that one of the captains take a serious look once in a while.  I want to play the game, dammit!