I mean, really, in the grand scheme of things, I’m pretty sure a letter that includes the phrases, “We appreciate the chance…” and “Please try again soon...” is pretty good as far as rejection letters go. When I was at the Southern California Writers Conference in September, I heard stories from my fellow writers about getting rejection letters that said a lot worse. A LOT WORSE. Plus, I think it was nice to get a letter back at all. Some publications don’t even bother.
To me, this letter is a really big deal. Not in the throw myself down on the ground and cry sort of way. In fact, I actually didn’t cry at all. It’s a really big deal because it’s proof that I put myself out there. That I took a chance on myself and my little piece of flash-fiction and sent it out into the world.
That I go’d and I do’d and I be’d.
I read the email, chuckled to myself a little, took a screen shot, told Jeremy, sent the screen shot to my friends Megan and Nick, and went to tee ball practice. Jeremy was seriously offended and called them stupid. Nick told me how one of his favorite books was rejected by 18 publishing houses before being accepted by the 19th , where it went on to sell millions upon millions of copies. Megan told me that Stephanie Meyer had something like 17 rejections and now she’s “swimming in millions like Scrooge McDuck.” And then she added, “and just so you know, you write better than her.”
It was nice to hear those things but, the truth of the matter is, I’m really not that bummed about it.
The piece that this email is rejecting is called ‘Kitty.’ It was my first attempt at flash-fiction. It isn’t a manuscript that I poured my heart and soul into. I didn’t spend months, or even days for that matter, working and re-working it. I wrote it in about an hour and a half, in a hotel room in Long Beach, for a contest I won.
And the feeling of writing it in that hotel room, all alone on a Saturday night, and then winning the contest, are two things that no one will ever be able to take away from me.
Would it have been cool for me to submit it to a second place and have them like it, too? Publish it, even?
Does that change the way I feel about this little piece of flash-fiction? Does it take away the high I got by writing it? Does it take away the high I got when it was validated by my peers? Does it make it less mine? Does it mean I won’t submit it somewhere else? Work it some and tweak it some and try again?
I hate to repeat quotes that I can’t remember the author of but, I read a quote once that I haven’t ever forgotten, even though I can’t remember where. It said,
“Writers want to write, not to have written.”
And that’s what I want to do. I want to write.
Yesterday, I spent 14 hours working on a monologue. I’m on my fourth draft and almost ready to send it off somewhere in the hopes that it’ll make it to a stage in New York in 2014. Will it? I don’t know. Will it change anything about the way I felt yesterday while I was writing it if it doesn’t?
No. It won’t.
I write. It’s what I do. It’s who I am. No amount of rejections is going to change that. And the truth is, no amount of acceptance letters is going to change it either.
It just is.
I'm pretty content with my first rejection letter.
I think I'll frame it.
Happy Tuesday, Friends.
go. do. be.