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  • Writer's picturemarikenney

Rejection and Me : A Love/Loath Story

Yesterday, I shared a post about receiving yet another rejection email. As a writer, I understand rejection. I'm friends with rejection. It's my main motivator and my main detractor.


I should be used to it. Rejection is a way of life. And as a creative person, I know I just keep pushing until someone finally answers with a "yes". That's how this goes. And I know this. I understand this.

But I still hate this.

Rejection and I have had a long history together.

My first rejection came in the fourth grade. Our school put together a Tall Tale contest (ala Paul Bunyan and John Henry). I spent hours on my story. I was very proud of my story. I knew my story would win.

It did not.

I was devastated. The story of Long-Legged Sally was a masterpiece* - or so my nine year old brain thought.

The winner's story was entitled "Elephant Soup." So first mark in my eyes - no clear main Tall Tale character - no Pecos Pete, no Johnny Kaw. Just a story about soup.

The second mark in my eye - I couldn't believe that she had written the story - it was too good. Not as good as Long-Legged Sally, but I knew without a doubt, her parents had helped.

Then I moved on to feeling like a big-old loser.

For a few days, I held on to these emotions - jumping from anger to depression.

Until, finally - I forgot about it.

I was a kid. I moved on. And this was usually how I handled rejection. I would get angry, hurt - but then move on.

But this time - this rejection hit on a bad day. I went through my day as an emotional zombie - I tried to keep my emotions at bay. Keep them numb.

But I've known my whole life, my emotions are too powerful to be held down - for too long.

They like to fight back.

So when I got home from work, I sat down at my computer and stared at the screen holding my little dog in my lap. He is my comfort. His little snorts are always a beautiful soundtrack to my writing time.

But as I sat there, I felt this weight, a heaviness of loser-ness. A wave of despair washed over me. Little buddy must have felt the shift because he sat his fluffy head up and smacked me on the face with his paw. He knew my focus should be on giving him scratches and not on my failure as a writer.

I relented and gave him the scratches. But as I did, my brain did it's normal thing of whispering "Oh you suck so bad." "You're writing is terrible." "You should just give up."

And yesterday, I almost let the voices win. I put Little Buddy down on the floor - he protested. Grunted, pawed at the chair. I tried to get him to lay down, but he knew he could whine some more and I would pick him up - and I did.

So I sat there, holding him, scratching his fluffy little head, and I asked my dog, "You wanna hear a story?"

So I sat there, dog in my lap and read him my submission. I did all the character's voices and even gave him a little show with blocking added. He snorted in protest when I moved, but I think he was enjoying it, overall.

Now, I know my submission isn't a masterpiece, but it's a fun-entertaining weird story - and that is what I love to tell. The world is such an absurd, insane, chaotic place - its nice to have a story that let's us laugh at it.

So, yes. Rejection sucks. But telling weird, chaotic tales is worth it all.

(Also, don't feel like you can't share your works with your pets. They are the best listeners.)

*I've recently found the story - and it was okay. A fun little story about a woman with long legs - cute, but a

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