Thursday, April 01, 2010

On Process: Rejection

In my mini-series on process I decided to skip the "submission" step since I've blogged about that often enough of late and skip right on over to rejection.

For the longest time I've been collecting my rejection letters and pinning them to my bulletin board. At first I did this because my bulletin board was blank and I was hanging them up as a sign of progress and effort. A look! see, I am doing something! I'm working and trying and this is proof, damn it! sort of thing. Then I continued to do it because I read the thing from Stephen King that he pinned all his rejection letters to his wall until the thumb tack fell out and then he put a spike in the wall and kept adding letters until the spike fell out and then he got published. I wasn't big on the idea of pounding a spike into the wall but a fuzzy-happy part of my brain thought I wouldn't have to wait that long.

The push pin ain't cuttin it any more; I'm at the spike stage.

And I really don't want to invest in a spike, so all my letters and half-sheet and quarter-sheet notes are sitting in a pile beside the trash can. It was a tidy pile but the cats knocked it over. These are just the paper ones. I don't keep the email rejections because it's beyond pointless to waste trees like that.

Now I'm wondering if it's even worth keeping the stack on the floor. I don't need to keep them to prove I'm working toward my goal, I think the whole grad school thing is proof enough for the moment.

The bulletin board looks so much better without this wad of paper cluttering it up. Up there now are my two rejections with handwritten notes from the editors. (Hayden's Ferry Review and Hunger Mountain you are my favorites!) Attached above the board is my one and only acceptance letter -- I think getting the letter was better than getting the magazine with the poem in it. If those are positive energy pieces, are the rejection notes negative energy pieces? Shouldn't I be sweeping negative energy out of my life? Or have I just read way too much Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron?

So the real question I have for you comes down to what do you do with rejection? Since rejection comes to all writers sooner or later (most sooner) I assume that you know how to deal with it mentally; what do you do with it physically?

I have a friend who wallpapers her half-bath with her rejection letters. She's arranging them in a rather intriguing pattern. It's very much a bathroom that a writer can appreciate. Or perhaps it's commentary.

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