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19 April 2011 @ 09:45 pm
A Rejection. Yay!  
Admit it. You think the title of this post is stuffed full of sweet, succulent sarcasm, don’t you? Show of hands please? Come on. Don’t be shy.

If I were a betting woman, I’d even go as far as to suppose you based your conclusion on one of two factors. One: The fact that you are writers yourselves, and well, let’s face it, we all know rejection sucks ass. Two: The fact that you have a passing or deep acquaintance with me, which has somehow led you to the belief that I can sometimes be sarcastic.

However, in this case, regardless of your reasoning, you’d be wrong. Believe me, that surprises me as much as it might you.

You see, at the beginning of March, I sent a group of poems to Mike Allen at Mythic Delirium. This both terrified and excited me. Mythic Delirium is a TOUGH market to crack, and yet I’d had the balls to submit to them. There was one poem in particular in the batch I hoped might catch Allen’s eye.

And it did.

Allen said he was “tickled” by the reversal of expectation I had set up in the poem, but that it wasn’t quite enough to tempt him to buy. He closed the email with good wishes for placing the poems elsewhere and the hope I would try again with future submissions.

In the interests of full confession, when I read the email on my iPhone late the night it arrived before I went to bed, I served myself a cocktail of self deprecation, “Oh, well. You didn’t really expect to make that sale, did you?” with a twist of self pity, “You’ll never really crack the markets you want. You’re just not good enough. Why bother?” and a pinch of sour grapes, “Sure, it’s not a form reject, but it’s like one step up.”

Those of you who are writers know those thoughts well, I’m sure. They are our familiar demons and constant companions. In another time, I’d linger over them and brood about the unfairness of my situation for days. Or weeks. Or.... Well.... Let’s just say for a long while. I guess the only thing in my favor was that I never succumbed to the “Fools! Clearly, they do not understand my brilliance and the splendor of my work!” type of arrogance.

Imagine, then, my surprise, when I woke up the next morning, reread the email, grinned, and thought, “He liked my poem. He LIKED my POEM. He GOT it, and he LIKED it, and he wants to see MORE from me.” Suddenly, everything about the email and my attitude just shifted, and while I would have been more delighted with a sale, I was still pretty damned pleased with the rejection I’d gotten.

In fact, I was more than pleased: I was MOTIVATED. I wanted to sit down that moment and start work on new poems. I also wanted to get that particular batch of poems back in circulation and off to another market. I haven’t quite done that yet, mostly because I am waiting on a market to open up later this month and because I’m hammering away at some other poems to go out with them on their new journeys.

I guess this means that I’ve grown as a person and a writer, that my priorities have shifted for the better, that I’d rather celebrate victories than brood over defeats. Some days it’s hard for me to remember those things. Fortunately, these last weeks have not been those sorts of days.
alex_quinealex_quine on April 20th, 2011 07:59 am (UTC)
*hugs* That was a real compliment! When you think of the hundreds of submissions that must come his way each month, to take the time to write and explain what he liked and encourage you to submit more is something special - and what's more it validates your taste because you knew that poem stood out from the rest and he agreed. Go you!
barbedwriting: LightGirlbarbedwriting on May 14th, 2011 04:16 pm (UTC)
Yes. I suppose the initial sulky response is inevitable. No one likes being rejected after all. But there is a world of difference between the encouraging rejection and the form "This was not right for us" one.
alex_quinealex_quine on May 15th, 2011 11:14 am (UTC)
The tough bit is going to be that he's effectively encouraging you to see this 'special' poem as your new baseline/benchmark. Everything you do should be at least as good as that and then better. Poetry is tough. I've never understood folk who think that poets don't sweat over their work, just because the word count may be less than in other forms. Go you! *hugs*
The Reluctant Sadist: writing by rahalia catsplix on April 20th, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC)
This is really inspiring. :)
barbedwriting: Dream Faebarbedwriting on May 14th, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And sorry to be behind on replying over here. I have that poem and another back out to another high-bar market, so keep your fingers crossed for me.
foxraferfoxrafer on April 20th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
What a lovely thing to have happened. Congrats on such a great response!
barbedwriting: ButterflyLeafbarbedwriting on May 14th, 2011 04:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I've got more poems in circulation now, so hopefully, I'll get to post an acceptance next.