I’m thinking this morning about rejection. When it stings, and why, because at this point, I’m aware that it stings considerably less than it used to, way back when I was writing my best Raymond Carver knockoffs and stuffing them in envelopes with sweaty paws and sending them off to imaginary places like The Paris Review and Crazyhorse.
I know that it’s another old topic, but with a new year approaching, and everyone resolving to do better and write more, I thought it’d be nice to chat about our hang-ups, and have a little digital bonfire of the vanities here.
Specifically, I’m wondering about the place or places where you’d love to be published, that repeatedly rejects you. Why do you keep sending them your work? What are you trying to prove, and to whom? What is it about the journal that has you acting like a whiny bitch? Have you ever done that mythic thing where when something gets rejected, you wait a couple months and then send it in again, exactly as it was? To corroborate the old chorus that editors are notoriously fickle, and make haphazard, arbitrary decisions more often than not? Has a certain journal’s rejection prompted you to completely rework a piece and then re-send it, perhaps with a new cover letter that indicates how earnestly you incorporated so-and-so’s suggestions? Where is the one place you would *love* to be published? Does this kind of cred matter to you at all anymore, or have you risen above and beyond? Do you save your “nice” rejections? Or any of them?
I will confess to an unnatural attachment to NOON. I have received a few written “thank you, try us again” notes. I really just want Diane Williams to love me. I feel like if she loved me, my life would improve a little bit, in small but significant ways. I’m still unpacking this obsession, trying to get to the bottom of it…mostly I think it’s this underlying sense of entitlement, like, Diane Williams, you should love me, and I should be in NOON. A combination of giddy subordination and indignant conceit. I can’t decide if my new year’s resolution should be to stop submitting to NOON, or to get an acceptance from NOON by any means possible.
Whew, I feel better already.