In the publishing industry, the slush pile is the infamous, bottomless vat of manuscripts to which an aspiring writer sends off his or her query letter to be read and, most likely, quickly discarded by an over-caffeinated, underpaid assistant. The slush pile haunts me like an ever-present ghost laughing quietly in my ear as I stare at the pulsing black curser on the blank, white Word document. The pile is both the genie who just might grant my wish and the siren calling sweetly to give up more of my words, time, and sanity.
Ironically, I decided to start a blog and send my writing out into the even more immense, intangible slush pile called the Internet. Maintaining a blog feels a bit like speaking aloud in an open, empty expanse—until you realize that the hum you mistook for nothingness is actually the drone of millions of voices talking at and over and down and past one another.
The sheer immensity of the Internet is astounding, incomprehensible. According to one estimate, if we printed out all our online content, we would need as many as 305.5 billion sheets of paper. Even if that number is off, let’s not kid ourselves, the Internet is massive, and we’re never going to read all of it.
There is so much information out there, so many websites to discover, so many videos to watch, and so many other blogs to read. I know this, so it’s hard to decipher why I want to add my voice—no matter how honest and thoughtful and articulate I find it to be—to the noise that will quickly surround and muffle it.
As an American, I was raised on Cinderella stories, on the notion that with enough effort I could become whatever I wanted. While grown-up (sort of) Gelsey no longer aspires to be a ballerina, I still choose to believe that with enough perseverance I can shape myself into anything I want. At times, I find myself unable to write, cowering behind a fear that nothing I say will be enough to change anything or touch anyone. I’m not looking for world fame or a Nobel Prize in Literature. I just want to leave a few footprints on someone’s thoughts. Sometimes, even that seems impossible.
With the Internet and social media, we are now our own fairy godmothers. All it takes is a computer, and with relative ease, you too can become a blogger, Youtuber, or Instagram model. That only seems to make the fairy tale more insurmountable.
But it’s the 21st century, and I don’t believe in genies, ghosts, and fairy godmothers. I believe in words, and I’m going to try to leave behind some footprints.
Welcome to my little piece of the Internet slush pile.