The Losing Game: Writing Rejection 18 & 19/100
Here's the part where I admit something to you: Sometimes writing feels more like work than like joy, and yet it's the only thing I routinely do for fun. I tried to think of what my hobbies were the other day and I realized they were writing and reading and basically nothing else. How narrow is that? One of my friends in Toronto is a dancer, singer, actor, and collage artist. Another of my friends here in Vancouver sings, paints, and puts together outfits that make her walking art. Yet another friend here is a yoga teacher, writer, and dancer, the list goes on. If I talked about all of my multi-talented and multi-engaged friends, you'd never make it out of this post. I have made the choice to go highly specialized with writing, which is amazing in some ways, and also probably one of the top 5 reasons I'm unrelatable at parties. It's helped me find people with the same passions as me. It has led me to ramble about the tumultuous state of canlit at any poor soul who talks to me about how great The Handmaid's Tale is. It makes sense that I've chosen to lean into writing. I've only ever wanted to be a writer, from the age of 5 on. I had a brief stint when I was 11 where I wanted to be an astronaut because of Her Awesomeness Roberta Bondar, but I didn't think that would stop me from also writing. I think it's really great to go for what you want full force, lance at the ready. (I saw some live jousting at the PNE yesterday and now that image is sitting heavy in my pocket just begging to be used.) But I've done a bad thing. I put on blinkers, much like the horses one jousts with. Because of that, I haven't taken the time to get to know any other things I might enjoy or be good at. When I was a kid, I liked gymnastics, but then I broke a bone in my back and didn't have the same aptitude for it afterward. I played clarinet in band class and was the top 10% of an abysmal selection of miscreants. I played piano, but never practiced or mastered playing with the left hand. When I was a teenager, I liked listening to music with the incense on and the lights off, but my serotonin's less wonky, so again, I don't have the same aptitude for it. I played guitar but have tiny hands that force me to play chords like Dm with my pinky, and never got good at playing the power chord-heavy music I enjoy. When I was a young adult I liked drinking excessively, reveling in my new freedom, and climbing onto the roofs of public buildings for all night heart to hearts with new friends, but my upper arm strength and ability to put away alcohol with no consequences have both gone downhill significantly. Case in point, I had a glass of wine the other night and woke up with a headache. It was tragic.
So, in order to honour myself and try to live a well rounded life... (my current life pictured below)
...I tried something different and submitted two entries to a photography contest.
Photography is a thing I've always liked, but never had an immediate talent for. When I was the head of yearbook in high school (easily one of the more traumatic decisions of my life, special thanks to UHS,) I ended up taking a lot of photos, and found I liked it. I was always the guest at parties who got a pity invite, but brought at least two disposable cameras and usually ended up playing chess with whichever other socially awkward adolescent clown tried to step outside of their comfort zone. "For posterity," I'd say, trying to make sure I got a picture of every person there, before retiring to rely too heavily on my bishops. In my current life, I love the hell out of some instagram (and if you're not already doing so, you can follow me at @the.losing.game.) I have exasperated friends asking me why I have to take so many pictures. Well, A) I like it and B) I'm probably drawn to photography for the same reason I'm drawn to writing: I like to document stuff. Being alive is pretty much my favourite thing and if I don't write it down or take a picture of it, I most likely won't remember it. Here's a conversation I have a lot: Friend: Hey, remember that time we tried to make a rainbow cake/all sang Radiohead in the kitchen/tried on all of those weird hats in the secondhand store/broke onto that guy's boat? Me: No.
So while I currently only use my phone to take pictures, and they're often not that great, that's another thing I'm going to start to do for fun. I'm going to expand my artistic and hobbylicious repertoire, just a little. My work will still be in the service of story (and sometimes nonsense,) but it's going to get a whole lot more graphic.
So buckle up, friends. I'm opening myself up to a whole new arena of rejections, and I can't fucking wait. Here are rejections 18 & 19, from the lovely folks at Pursue Pictures. You might be wondering why they're rejections 18 & 19, as I normally don't separate rejections by how many pieces I sent. My rationale is I sent both photos to the same contest, but I did so on entirely different weeks. Whatever. It's an experiment. This is uncharted territory, after all.
[WRITING REJECTION 18 /100] Dear Erin, Thank you for sending us "As Above, So Below" to our People and Places photo call. We saw some fantastic photos and really enjoyed reviewing your work. I am sorry to say, that it wasn't selected to the final round. As it goes, we had to decline some really wonderful work, and it was a difficult decision selecting the winners. We do hope you'll consider sending us more work in the future and we thank you for your patience while a decision was made. Best of luck with your photography and thank you again for the support! Sincerely, Kim and The Pursue Pictures team
[WRITING REJECTION 19/100] Dear Erin, Thank you for sending us "Once" to our People and Places photo call. We saw some fantastic photos and really enjoyed reviewing your work. I am sorry to say, that it wasn't selected to the final round. As it goes, we had to decline some really wonderful work, and it was a difficult decision selecting the winners. We do hope you'll consider sending us more work in the future and we thank you for your patience while a decision was made. Best of luck with your photography and thank you again for the support! Sincerely, Kim and The Pursue Pictures team
So that's where I'm at on this lovely September day. Autumn is a time for reinvention, if my mother is to be believed, you've noticed, surely, how the nights are getting cool. Until next time, - E.B. Kirsh