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Blue Sky

I Eat Rejections For Breakfast Because I'm a Writer: Everyday Magic, Day 1096

Updated: Apr 5



Truly, and usually with steaming oatmeal and iced tea when I'm half awake. Perhaps I should eat the rejections with a chocolate amaretto latte and cheese danish, but as I get older, such foodstuff would be harder on my system than the rejections.


Receiving rejections for poems sent to literary journals and manuscripts to publishers is as common for writers as splinters for woodworkers or ticks for farmers. It's part and parcel of the profession, procession, and profusion of the writing life.


Long ago, when I read about a writer who wallpapered her bathroom with rejections, I made a choice to do the opposite. In the 40-plus -- yes, four decades! -- I've been sending poetry and prose out into the judgmental ethers of what some of us call the po' biz, I've been schooling myself on reframing the narrative. Instead of telling myself, "I must not be good enough," I sing my writerly soul something to the tune of, "Guess there's some young'un who can't see the genius of my work," "They must not have had the time to really read my work because they're exhausted and overwhelmed," and even more likely, "It's nothing personal. Keep going."

It's also important to discern if I'm sending the right stuff to the right place or if the person on the other end (the internet version of two paper cups linked by a string) is off-base. Last week, my memoir The Magic Eye, about surviving eye cancer while saving the land that saved us, came back with a little note suggesting I try a press that only publishes books about addiction recovery. There's no drugs, alcohol, gambling, or other addiction in my memoir unless you count being addicted to survival. Another press wrote me that my very poetic memoir didn't grab them because the language wasn't "cutting edge and experimental" when this press itself doesn't even publish much that is.


Just like listening to spirits or elected officials, just because someone is telling you something from afar and a seemingly high perch doesn't mean they're on the money.


When the Kansas City Royals last won the world series in 2015, the players said their motto was "keep the line moving." By hitting single after single, they got the job done. Getting a whole lot of rejections -- and in the last four months, between sending out a manuscript and a whole lot of poems, I've received over 20 -- isn't the same as getting a single. But keeping the line moving is essential to getting work published, and it takes a certain kind of person to be able to do this.


"We're obsessive-compulsive because we're writers, and we wouldn't have this ability to stick with it and keep trying if we weren't," Denise Low, my dear writer friend and past inhabitant of the Kansas Poet Laureate mansion (aka shack on the prairie), told me today. True that, and also true that we're not in it for money, adoration, or power but simply because we believe in our writing and want to share it with others. I pay the propane bill and stock the fridge from teaching and coaching wonderful writers, collaborating with wise women on cool projects, and driving all over tarnation to talk poetry and related subjects (what isn't related!). I write and get my work published as a labor of love, and yes, a dose of obsessive-compulsion based on a suspension of disbelief (think of how the Cinderella song "Impossible" morphs into "It's possible").


So hello world, I make myself say even when the mosquitoes of doubt buzz dangerously close, here's my writing and please love me, or if you don't, let me know quick. Meanwhile, I tell my writing, Sit tight, sweetheart. I'm never going to leave you, as we drive into the next sunset and sunrise.


P.S. As soon as I started writing this, I got three poems accepted by a journal, so that happens too.


Please check out my renewed Patreon -- the weekly Write Where You Are Weekly Companion -- that gives you all kinds of goodies to get you and keep you writing! It's at Patreon.com/carynmg

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6件のコメント


ゲスト
4月10日

I just shared this with a client who is a writer and sending out her very precious, newborn novel into the cruel cold world for the first time. She said, "I love that whole piece!! And I know she’s right!! ...I'm going to print it out and frame it." <3 So heartbroken about Goddard.

いいね!

ゲスト
4月09日

You led a poetry writing workshop that I attended several years ago at Turning Point. You encouraged all of us present to tap into our creativity to help us heal. Loved that workshop and this article.

いいね!

ゲスト
4月07日

Good going, keep going, great attitude, what's the alternative?

いいね!

ゲスト
4月06日

Sit tight, sweetheart, I’m never going to leave you. Oof, can feel this in my body. Mel

いいね!

ゲスト
4月06日

You're extremely welcome, and I'm glad it lifted up you as well as me! Hope to see you again at Brave Voice sometime too. -- Caryn

いいね!
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