Growing Pains (a blog post with a soundtrack)

Even my most rabid optimism does not permit me to believe that a rejection letter received on April Fool’s Day is a joke.  Though it was fun, for a brief and shining moment, to imagine The Editors zapping me a quick, “Ha-ha, we’re kidding!” email.

And so, as promised in an earlier post, I submit to you my first rejection of the new year:

“Dear Author,

Thank you for sending us your work. Though we must decline
the opportunity to publish it, we wish you every success with
the project.

Please excuse this form letter, which we employ to respond to
all submissions promptly. Be assured your submission received
close consideration.


The Editors

PS: Since a SASE was not provided for the return of your submission
it has been recycled.

Please do not reply to this email.”

The temptation to reply is great:

“Dear The Editors,

Thanks for keeping it classy.  Though I kind of wish you’d just tell me you thought it sucked.

Your form letter is excused.  I know you peeps are busy.


The Writer

PS:  I hope you did something fun with it like make it into paper airplanes.  That was a lot of paper.”

Is there anybody alive out there?

This is a post about fresh starts.  A new day, a new week, a new month, a new year.  My blog’s gotten a much-needed facelift thanks to Muddy Art Photography.  I’ve been feeling the need for something less cluttered, sharper–a visual spring cleaning.  In my day job as a professional organizer, I’m all about the spring cleaning, of course.

This isn’t just a visual thing, though.  Over the past few months, I’ve been feeling the need to shift and sharpen my focus.  A friend pointed out to me a while ago that the whole “writer/mother” conceit was limiting, and while part of me still thinks that writing and mothering are both about everything in the entire world, I realize that it’s possible to tighten that particular focus too much.

The heart of this blog remains my obsession with connections.  It often strikes me as mildly amusing that a confirmed introvert could long so passionately for connection, but I do.  Connection is my politics, my religion, my philosophy, and the bane of my existence.  It keeps me up way too late at night, as the people I’ve met and the books I’ve read have conversations in my head.  They laugh, debate, flirt, and sometimes get into knock-down, drag-out fights.  It’s crowded in here, but for me, this is the stuff of life.

Maybe that’s what this blog is really about–signs of life, like daffodils breaking through the frozen crust of soil in my front yard.  Signals crackling through the static.

So I’m redirecting.  With my crazy love of connection, this is, of course, easier written than done.  Fortunately, in my world, writing is doing.

Writing isn’t safe, comfortable, or easy.  Its apparent coziness is deceptive.  We writers look so lovably quirky, huddled over our laptops in coffeeshops across the world, nursing gigantic mugs of caffeine and muttering softly to ourselves.  But don’t be fooled–we’re not just cute, harmless eccentrics.  We are mighty and brave, for writing is a dangerous business.  Rejection stings.  I wonder if writers ever really come to terms with this.  I wonder if we ever really should.  Would it change our worlds, or stifle them?  How do we walk that fine line between accepting that rejection is unavoidable, and giving up entirely?

I’m still rolling around in my mind the disconnect between a blog makeover and a rejection letter on the same day.  Because I’m obsessed, I have to believe there’s a connection, some meaning in apparent chaos.  So maybe it’s this:  that growth comes out of adversity.  As my M.A. advisor always said, “A certain sense of discomfort is necessary in order for learning to occur.”

If that’s the case, The Editors, then keep those rejection letters coming.  I can handle it.  I am mighty.  Or at least optimistic and well-caffeinated.

Anybody want to share war stories?  Or mental soundtracks?

7 thoughts on “Growing Pains (a blog post with a soundtrack)

  1. I hate the pat on the back “Hey don’t worry, that just means they weren’t right for your story” it doesn’t sting any less. Remember, SV still has your ms after a prompt “NO” to me, they still have yet to respond to you.
    As long as you keep your chin up, you will find the perfect match for WH…the way I look at it now is every agent that rejects you is the equivalent to a bad date. That doesn’t mean your soul mate isn’t out there somewhere, ready to marry you 🙂

      1. LOL well, unlike me, you’re very picky in who you’re dating…I’m a floozy for sure, I’ve been around the Lit Agent block enough times to be a veteran 😛

  2. LOVE the facelift, and the new concentration on Connections. Love it.

    Regarding rejection, I’d rather have a form letter no than a “no answer means no” answer. In business, silence equals acquiescence, and we just plunge forward with plans if people raise no objections. I think publishing should have that same rule. “Anyone vote no? Okay, moving on with this project then…”

    1. Thanks, AK.

      I agree; though the form letters can be disheartening, and I’d love to know why they’ve rejected my submission, the “no answer” thing is absolutely unhelpful. And nerve-wracking! I like your suggestion for the business model.

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