I think the trust thing is a big part of the problem. I find it hard to believe that people say or do nice things without wanting something in return. Whenever my boss says something nice to me I'm thinking "Okay, whose shift do you want me to cover?". Whenever somebody says something nice about my zine, part of me is thinking "You're just saying this so that I publish your work in the next issue". Even when my own girlfriend says something nice to me/about me a little part of me is thinking "You just want me to make you a cup of tea". How fucked up is that?!?
I recently sent the latest issue of my literary zine off to be reviewed by a website called Sabotage Reviews and whilst I had hoped they would enjoy it and perhaps say some nice things about it, I was completely overwhelmed by the review. One line in particular stood out from the rest and I had to read it several times for it to sink in:
"it becomes clearer with each issue that there is a keen critical mind at work in the editorial process"A keen critical mind? Me? Really? Suddenly I went from making a zine for fun, picking and choosing from the submission I like and rejecting the ones I don't to having a "keen critical mind". I am currently putting the next issue together. The submission deadline closed today so I am in the midst of reading through the plethora of subs that I received and because of that one line I now feel all this pressure on me. Pressure to be this keen critical mind. Pressure to make issue #5 even better than #4. Pressure flex my "selection muscles" as the reviewer put it. PRESSUREPRESSUREPRESSURE.
Maybe I am just thinking about this too much. Maybe the pressure is a good thing and maybe I'll fucking smash it out of the park and issue #5 will be awesome and none of this will matter. Maybe that guy who reviewed it is just hoping that if he submits in the future (he's a poet, too) that I will be more inclined to accept his offerings. Maybe I just need to learn how to take a compliment and stop being a fucking dick about the whole thing. Maybe.