I’m no stranger to broken bones, concussions, and sprains from the whims of grumpy horses, so after the last rejection threw me flat to the ground I climbed back on my literary horse. In a Facebook post I shared that I was sitting in my car eating dark chocolate covered almonds because I was recovering from mailing off a package to a granting body asking for a bunch of money to complete my current novel.
It was fascinating to see how many people liked that post. It’s no wonder that many writers are introverts – writing makes one vulnerable enough as it is. To being judged, seen, exposed, criticized, etc. But all those lovely introverts, thanks to social media, can cheer each other on from the safety of their laptops.
About an hour after I mailed off that package I received an email telling me that the first two chapters of the multi-rejected novel had just won a New York magazine’s 2016 writing contest and would be published this winter. The editors were “quite taken” with those two chapters. I was a’whoopin’ and a’hollerin’ like nobody’s business for quite some time after receiving that news. It was especially thrilling since I hadn’t entered that contest with those chapters. I had submitted the manuscript excerpt as a general submission and submitted three poems to the contest. It was their suggestion that we port the fiction to a contest entry.
The bruises from all the rejections went from purple to pale yellow. Maybe the novel didn’t suck after all.
The roller coaster analogy about the writing life I made in a previous post doesn’t end here, though. A colleague with whom I have workshopped many pieces referred my memoir to his editor. She was very keen and we began a friendly exchange of emails. Yay. Alas, once she sunk into the memoir she realized that it wasn’t for her. Boo. However, she appreciated the quality of the work and sent it along to a fellow agent. Yay. After introducing myself to said agent, she wrote back to say that she was very excited to read it and requested exclusive consideration for a month. Yay, Yay, Yay.
I’m not likely to ever quit my day job, but these high moments in the process enhance the deep pleasure of writing about what has captured, changed, and moved me. Having these expressions find a welcome home is gratifying because in a big way it makes me feel as if I’m not riding the roller coaster all by myself.