Rejection. I’m used to it and I’m not. When I was an ungainly 13 year old with braces and permed bangs, rejection was pretty commonplace. Even as I left those awkward years behind, I had my fair share of heartbreak. I mean, did that guy, whose name I can’t even remember, really have the flu when he declined my invitation to escort me back to my room during my senior year of college? What was he doing at a bar anyway if he had the flu?
Rejection also came in other forms. I’m quite sure I was perfectly qualified to write two-sentence descriptions of TV shows and movies for the cable guide that never called me back after my first post-college job interview. I wasn’t even invited in for an interview when I applied for a job as a lowly marketing assistant at the local newspaper, despite the fact that the last job on my resume should’ve qualified me for the position. Hell, I told myself at the time, I was actually over qualified.
But in a certain realm, the realm of writing, I’ve been more lucky. “A. You’re one smart cookie. Please come see me sometimes,” my Shakespeare professor scrawled on my “Ratios and Relationships in Macbeth” paper I wrote my sophomore year of college. (I still wonder what he meant by “come see me sometimes” and was even somewhat regretful that I didn’t follow through when he turned up in People magazine 15 years later as a philanthropic millionaire.) Even on papers that I BS’d my way through, I got the frequent comment “very well written, though you don’t seem to have a firm grasp of the subject matter.”
In the workforce, I have almost always had positive feedback on my writing. Several of my former employers have used my freelance writing services long after I gave my two-weeks notice. If that’s not a vote of confidence, then I don’t know what is.
Now, when my life feels more settled than ever, when flat irons have guaranteed no more bad hair days, when I don’t have to ask a guy I barely know if he wants to come home with me—the guy I married will do just fine, when freelance clients have come to me rather than the other way around, I find myself back in a place where I am staring rejection in the face.
Granted, I haven’t sent out that many query letters. In the world of publishing, nine query letters is nothing. Nothing. I’ve received four emails back saying no thank you, and I haven’t heard back from the other five. I know this is common. There’s absolutely no reason for me to feel sorry for myself this early in the game. Kathryn Stockett, the author of The Help, a little novel that has been on top of the New York Times Best Sellers List for, oh, something like two years straight, was rejected 60 times before an agent was willing to take her on.
So I will not turn back into that girl with braces and permed bangs who was convinced she would never, ever have a boyfriend. I will just plug along and hope that someone, somewhere will give me that one chance. I have to believe it will happen or it never will.
And Jon or Dave or Dan or Michael or Adam or what ever your name was, you missed out!