Three rejections in three days makes for one hell of a dive in the gutter (nose first in stinky, grimy dirt might I add).
Just last week I was sitting on Cloud Nine because my copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times (with my story, Signs of David) were waiting on my front porch when I opened the door. I was like a child on Christmas when I opened the big cardboard box. The book officially comes out TODAY, October 4, 2011. My story is on page 168.
On Saturday, I took a very impromptu trip to Webster, TX when I found out that Poetic Asides' author Robert Lee Brewer, editor of Writer's Market and Poet's Market, would be reading his poetry there. Many wonderful poets have met on the streets of Poetic Asides (PA) and have gone on to form friendships and partnerships, write chapbooks, and move forward in their writing careers. The formation of Baker's Dozen, my online group of poets around the world, is a result of PA. All of this has been made possible because of Robert Lee Brewer's continued support and sincerity.
It was a riveting experience to finally meet the person who has inspired me in so many ways. You can read the poem I wrote, Meeting Robert Lee Brewer, here. The amazing thing is that I was able to sit next to him for four hours of poetry reading and then discuss the poems during the many breaks. We even talked about everyday life, our families and growing up. I felt like I was sitting next to an old friend or even a brother. Robert encouraged me to read my sonnet, I Am the Sea, at the open mic round robin. It was the first time I had ever read one of my poems aloud and to do it with the support of Robert was astounding. I will never forget Saturday, October 1, 2011 (10+1=11, as Robert signed in his newest chapbook, Escape).
BAM, BAM, BAM
Then I received the first rejection in this wave of three on Sunday. It was a short story I had felt so good about when I submitted it to Glimmer Train, I just knew I'd finally make some big bucks off my hard work. NOT.
Monday the letter came from another publication where I had submitted a piece that made it through the first round, but obviously not the second. How dare they turn down such a personal piece after I went through all that hell to live through that experience and even more to write about it!
Today (Tuesday) a very positive email awaited me with a personal note about how wonderful my micro-story was and how it grabbed the attention of the editor of Narrative Magazine, but didn't quite cut it. Damn! How much more can I take?
Despite the Chicken Soup story and meeting Robert Lee Brewer experience, I am focusing on the negatives. Why do I do that? Writing this has helped me, though; and what I really need to do is reread I Am the Sea. After all, I wrote it as a reminder that I will always bounce back after rejection and that I write because it's part of me. My skin will grow thicker and I will survive (after I mourn for awhile).
Sets of three, right? Things happen in sets of three. I'll take my losses and move forward. Maybe there's a third acceptance out there somewhere.