Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rejection - It Only Hurts for a Moment

On a whim I sent an email to a well respected agent in New York regarding my novel Elk River. My God they actually asked to read the first 100 pages. I know, as an indie writer and publisher I have sinned. They are, these agents,  the gatekeepers to all we hold evil and unholy (most of this is due to serious wishful thinking and envy on our part of the more successful of our profession who actually get a contract). Why butt your head against the system? Hold up your fist in solidarity against these self appointed doorman, these writers of rejection, these killers of the heart. A pox on all of them. As you may have guessed, I added their kind, but intentionally smart, letter to the rejection folder.

There are some who, in self-indulgence, plaster their walls with these letters, (now days you have to print the email to do it), wallow in the count of rejection missives, and tally them like a war's body count. I have heard that there are a few who have even self-published books of their rejections. This self pity and flagellation all seems very Catholic to me.

For most of us, this need to find an agent is actually a need to find validation, not the kind required for your parking stub, the kind your mother gave when you had a bu-bu. The kind word, the acceptance, the reason for all those hours of pounding away in the early morning hours, THAT kind of validation.

But there is also clarity. A writer believes that his work is pure and correct. It is the stuff dreams are made of. It is a wonder to behold. Good God, even my mother would have liked it! But that agent in their cubicle in some tower on some numbered street in New York, what do they know about cherries in Michigan? What do they know about the time when we hid under our desks fearing for our lives and waiting for the heat from some exploding bomb? Hell, they probably weren't even alive in 1956. I did say clarity, now I can moved forward. This stop in New York was a pull-over to the side of the road, a moment waiting for something, is Godot coming? I can now move this book to the fast lane, damn the torpedoes, run up the pirate flag, shake the tree, play in traffic. Huzzah.

More later . . . .

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