I think there’s a black hole in the universe. Not in the “somewhere out there” sense. Not in the “the Hadron collider might explode” sense. But in the “right here, right now” sense.
It lives in my e-mail. I swear it. The number of times I hear from people, after I spend days, weeks or months waiting for a response and give up, either phoning them if its an option, or tripping over them somewhere else if it isn’t, that I hear “Oh, I never got that message” after I’ve sent an e-mail that is potentially important seems disproportionate to the number of messages I can believably say are likely to have gotten lost, either through technical malfunction, server errors, spam filters or being a little overzealous with the delete key on an overfull mailbox.
Now, if it was just to sites regarding submissions, I’d understand that; I know agents and Aquisitions Editors are busy people, and don’t have time to personally respond to every e-mail. But it applies to Craigslist responses, personal contacts, small employers and occasional personal friends as well. It’s quite frustrating, and has led me to my current conclusion:
There’s a black hole waiting just beyond the “send” button in my mail client, and it is hungry. It devours 99.9% of all outgoing messages, and has a preference for those that contain important or potentially important replies, and queries that need to be answered before I can move forward on a given project or task. It sounds paranoid. It sounds silly. But I’m really coming to believe it.
The other possibility is that it lives in front of the mailbox itself, consuming any replies (though I am that guy, the one who actually reads through the spam-traps just in case there’s something important in there) just to mock me.
Of course, being who I am, it makes me contemplate ideas. Reminds me a bit of The Word Eater, a signature character from Vampire: The Masquerade‘s Malkavian Clanbook; supposedly the character had somehow evolved beyond the need for blood, and instead consumed ideas, often by devouring books. Once devoured, those ideas were gone from the world. Forever. Maybe something similar “lives” in the internet, consuming e-mails and blog posts and small, obscure websites, doing such an excellent job that they are forgotten by all but their creators.
There might be an idea in there. Of course, I have two currently-being-worked-on projects that I should be writing, two more that have great ideas and some semblance of a plot structure that I could work on if I felt like doing something else, and at least three back-of-the-drawer manuscripts that could be given a bit of CPR – and probably should – but just in case I needed more random concepts floating around in the back of my head, it’s there.
Anyone else have this issue? Somehow just knowing that everything you put out into the world is just vanishing, never to be heard from again? How do you deal with it? Let us know in the box below!