Monday, August 20, 2012

Final pass edits, and another rejection

The thing about writing is, right when you're feeling smug and sure of yourself, right when you finally believe that you've made it, yes, you've finally made it, that email or letter arrives in the mail informing you that no, you haven't.

Two weeks ago I received my final pass edits for my novel, Dolls Behaving Badly, and early Thursday morning, I handed them back in again, all finished except for a few additional clarifications.

All week I felt like The Writer, like The Big Deal. I even stood in the front of the bathroom mirror in my old, overly sized glasses, and practiced smiling like Joyce Carol Oates.

Then today, after returning home from racing the Big Wild Life Run, I turned on Dirty Dancing (the original version, with Patrick S.), and happily opened my email.

Oh, Patrick, if only I could have danced with you, then literary magazine rejections wouldn't matter so much.

And there it was: A rejection notice. The Heavy Feather Review doesn't want my creative nonfiction piece, but they were nice about it, very gracious, which made it worse: I couldn't even resent them.

 Three weeks ago, ZYZZYVA didn't want five of my poems. And two weeks ago, the Stone Highway Review didn't want another one of my creative nonfiction pieces.

Writerly rejection never really ends, no matter how many awards you might receive or books you might publish. Each time you send out a submission, you're basically starting from scratch. Oh, prior publications may count a small bit, but the bulk of emphasis is on your work.

Sometimes your work doesn't cut it. Sometimes the magazine is looking for something else. Sometimes your writing style doesn't jive with editorial preference. And sometimes it's about timing and moods and the phase of the moon.

More and more I think it's almost always about the phase of the moon but then again, I'm feeling a little cynical today so probably this isn't the case at all.

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