Rejection #1: Perhaps it is a blessing that I am now physically unable to check my personal email during my lunch break at work. (All email websites are banned. The graphic of choice is a big red hand.) The rejection this afternoon was from a writers’ conference: no scholarship for me. I can still pay to go, but alas I am broke. Of course I had no idea about the rejection today, no clue it was sitting in my inbox waiting to sucker punch me upon coming home. How oblivious I was. I even had little summer-writing-workshop fantasies (I don’t know, I guess they involved eating at picnic tables and poetry readings with mosquitoes and seeing fancy literary agents in flip-flops?). Maybe I got a little too excited about that.
Rejection #2: So I stayed late at work. So late that E actually came by to walk me home. Once at home, upon realizing that I wasn’t going away this summer, at least to this particular conference, I resorted to my usual: the sulk. I am a master sulker. I crumple my face and stick out my bottom lip and make a sound like this: uuuucchhhk. That’s when it occurred to me that I haven’t seen any rejections on my short stories lately. So I asked him—my personal mailbox screener—did any rejections come through the mail? No, he said. Then, hesitating, Maybe. Then, Yes. But he didn’t remember where it was. The search for the rejection letter took ten minutes and part of me didn’t want to see it but another part of me did want to see it so I could wallow and sulk some more. It turned out to be a little slip, nameless, unsigned—from one of the most prestigious literary magazines in the country. That’s when it all became funny. Who am I to think I can send my stories to one of the most prestigious literary magazines in the country?! I am delusional, obviously. And that’s funny.
I think you have to be at least slightly delusional to be a writer—to put up with the nos and keep thinking you’re worthy of the maybe-someday yes. It’s a madness I hope to keep a hold of a little longer. I don’t want to sulk myself into oblivion yet.