My appreciation for the comments on my last blog post is infinite You tell me good luck, that you understand, and that you believe my pursuit of publication. What I hear is: I believe in you. Not that I was going to quit, but it’s enough to make me click into gear again.
You know what else helps that happen? A really, really nice rejection letter.
It came in yesterday just as I was about to head off in the woods for a run. I went on that run anyway, of course, and asked the shuffle to give me something good. I did not get a running song with a great beat or motivational lyrics. I didn’t get “Little Miss Independent” or “Start Me Up” or “This Must Be The Place.” I didn’t even get a thirty-five minute Grateful Dead song; I got “Blackbird.” And it was perfect.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
That’s why the title of this post is Realize and not the other “re” word: Rejection. My most pressing fear was realized, and I’m okay. I got a personalized letter with a lovely compliment instead of a form letter. Realize is one of those words I love that has a myriad of meanings that differ widely from each other, but in this case the meaning is “become fully aware of (something) as a fact; understand clearly.”
I’m fully aware that one rejection letter is not the end of the world. I’m fully aware that I can and will persevere in following my dreams. I’m fully aware that I can do this.
This blog has lately become a chronicle of my writing process as I seek publication. Does that fit with the theme sorry I’M NOT WHO YOU THOUGHT i was? I have to say: yes, yes it fits better than ever. Sorry I’m not going to give up, sorry I’m not going to let one rejection derail all of my hard work, sorry I’m continuing to believe in myself and will keep going until I find an agent and publisher who do too.
The odds of publication (as we know) are tough, but in the end it’s just you against you. Why determine your odds based on someone else? Really it’s me getting published or not, and those odds are 50% either way. With some additional hard work I hope to tip it in my favor.
In the spirit of full disclosure and sharing my process, I’m pasting here the letter from the agent and my reply.
Hey there, Jaime,
Thanks so much for giving me a shot at your memoir. I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t connecting wholeheartedly with your writing, despite its poise and polish, so I ought to step aside, but I truly appreciate the look, and I wish you the best of luck!
Thank you for the thoughtful rejection. As you know, it means more than a form letter, and I appreciate the time you took to not only read my query and sample, but also to personally reply. You were my first query for this project, so I’ll take the kind “poise and polish” compliment and reconsider the chapter(s) I submit as a sample. Thank you!
Tonight: The queen of “keep on keeping on” Loretta Lynn!
Good on you Jaime!
Hi, Jaime. I’m facing some similar struggles myself. In fact, I wrote a post on rejection last month called “Everything Is Medicine.” I’m inspired to see you faced your fears and are moving forward!
Maia! “Everything is Medicine” is amazing. I commented over in your neck of the woods….