The Losing Game: Writing Rejections 18-21
Hello friends and rivals, long time no speak! The responses are coming in tortoise slow these days, but some fun things have happened in my writing life. The first is that I've officially started sending out my poetry manuscript. I'm really proud of it and I think that I can keep making tweaks all I want, but the time is now. My deepest fear at this point is that I will send it to all of the publishing houses, they will all not want it, and then that's it, that's all of my good poems to this point. It's terrifying, even being as accustomed to rejection as I am. I feel like my work is often pretty different from the things I see published and that causes me to question if there's something I don't know about poetry. Am I missing some fundamental something? Or do I just do something a bit akimbo and that's okay? The major shift in my brain is leaning toward that last one. Not that all of the work getting published is uniform and I'm this visionary renegade, there's a lot of different styles and topics getting published. The shift is that I think there's room for all of them, including mine. It's been really nice.
The second thing is that I've reached out to an agent. I haven't heard back, but it was an experience that I didn't have before. (Not counting it as a rejection. Maybe half a rejection? Do I count that?) The third thing is that I started getting more insistent about my follow up e-mails. If people didn't respond to my submission or follow up e-mails for an amount of time I consider gracious, I'm going to assume that I'm not being shafted and that it's an honest mistake. So I sent out private messages by means of social media to a couple of places and the journals have been across the board lovely about it. I'm proud of myself for standing up for my submissions. The fourth thing is that I've been nominated by EVENT magazine for Best New Poets, which I'm very grateful for. It makes me super excited, especially in this dry dry dry dry dry dry dry spell. I could still be rejected, but I'm happy about it!
It's these little treats that keep me floating in this sandstorm of rejection. I'm at a place where I might feel defeated but I know that I'm not. I've never had this experience and I feel powerful in a way I've never felt powerful before. It feels like someone's put a curse on me but instead of letting it rot my insides or whatever curses do, (Kill you? Make your teeth fall out? Iunno.) I'm wearing it like an accessory, a convincing faux fur stole. This maybe does not make any sense but that's what it feels like so I'm putting it out there because why the fuck not. So let's check out the rejections, shall we? We're now over a fifth of the way to the goal of 100 rejections! To quote the great Adore Delano, party!
[WRITING REJECTION 18/100] Dear Erin, Thank you for submitting to our Spring 2019 Pinch Literary Awards. We are grateful for the opportunity to have read your submission. We am sorry to say that "Three Poems" has not been selected as a finalist. We received an unprecedented number of submissions this year, and unfortunately, we must pass on a number of entries that showed promise. We would like to personally thank you for the opportunity to consider "Three Poems" and for supporting our journal through your contest entry. We will email you a link to your complimentary digital issue of the journal in the near future. We hope you'll enjoy reading through it and consider submitting again in the future. Best wishes, The Pinch Journal
[WRITING REJECTION 19/100] Dear Erin, Thank you for submitting your work to the Oxford American. Thanks, too, for your patience in waiting to receive a response. While this story is not the best fit for the OA at this time, we appreciate you giving us the opportunity to consider it for publication. All the best, The Editors
[WRITING REJECTION 20/100] Was not shortlisted for the Bronwen Wallace, but my best beloved ELLIE SAWATZKY was! Go read her manuscript, it's amazing! And also the other ones are great too! Go read!
[WRITING REJECTION 21/100] Dear Erin, Thank you for your interest in ___________. Your poems are lively and your title made me laugh. Our two slots for 2020 have been filled by poets already on our list, coming in with new manuscripts. I wish you luck with yours. ~ Publishing House I am Keeping Anonymous ~
Is it bad that the only thing I took away from the last one was that I made someone laugh? Or that I mostly just felt glorious about finally sending out some poems on behalf of my manuscript? Also dang the responses are so much faster for book proposals! All I felt reading that last rejection was happy. Proof that you can in fact end things nicely.
I hope all of your writing is going well out there!
Until next time, E.B. Kirsh