I received this poem a couple days ago with this note:
This is for all of us who’ve queried a manuscript, submitted an article proposal, auditioned for a role, sent art to a jury, or picked up a microphone and had to wait for a verdict.
Mediocrity in Love Rejected
Give me more love or more disdain;
The torrid, or the frozen zone,
Bring equal ease unto my pain;
The temperate affords me none;
Either extreme, of love, or hate,
Is sweeter than a calm estate.
Give me a storm; if it be love,
Like Danae in that golden show’r
I swim in pleasure; if it prove
Disdain, that torrent will devour
My vulture-hopes; and he’s possess’d
Of heaven, that’s but from hell releas’d.
Then crown my joys, or cure my pain;
Give me more love, or more disdain.
I received a rejection yesterday—it was a long shot, and I’d told myself not to pin any hopes or dreams on it, though of course I did anyway.
But it would have hurt much worse if I hadn’t listened to the words of a wise man earlier this week. The full text is available, if you would prefer to read them.
Thank you, Mr. Gaiman. I’m not quite ready to see this as a step forward, yet, but maybe tomorrow . . . And I think I might have made a little good art today.
The most reassuring thing about this, though, is that it was sent to me by a good friend with uncanny timing.
I haven’t had to cope with rejection lately, which sounds great until I pony up and confess that I haven’t sent much out in a couple months.*
But I still want to share this great example of maintaining professionalism and a sense of humor in the face of rejection—and public rejection, at that:
These guys might have gone back to their hotel rooms and screamed, “We got hosed! This is &%$#!” at the top of their lungs and kicked the crap out of their suitcases—but if they did, no one will ever know.
And no one will ever remember anything but that they had fun and did their damnedest even after the axe fell.
*Not winning—or even placing in—any of the online writing contests I tried this past week don’t count as rejections in my little world. They count as practice.
Yesterday, a lovely person took the time to send me an e-mail about how much she enjoyed reading a lengthy story I’d written earlier this year as a fun challenge and had left up on the website. She told me that she’d stayed up until 3:30 am to finish it, even though she was going on a trip the next day—she actually sent the message from her phone while she was waiting for her flight to be called.
It was an out-of-the-blue compliment that absolutely made my day. And today, too, for that matter.
I’m saving the message in an UnRejection folder to re-read when the words won’t cooperate. It will remind me that someone, somewhere, likes my style.
Sometimes, that’s all it takes to keep going.
Remember that you’re in fine and brilliant company by reading through all the links posted in the comments to the fabulous and incomparable Rejectionist’s essay uncontest: What Form Rejections Mean to Me. Bookmark them for later.
And then watch this:
Hard to be blue when you’re tapping your feet and bouncing in your seat. And wishing you were the one goosing Mr. DeLuise . . .