Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The final class for my recent workshop, Storytelling Basics, started with a warm up, featuring the following quotes:

It is impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.A. 
-from the rejection slip for George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
-Alfred A. Montapert

The role of the writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.
-Anaïs Nin

I’m not gonna lie…these quotes were carefully selected by yours truly, and you will see why when you read my warm up piece.


I won’t even let myself go into the darkness of this–
yet, I need to.
Hubby said to just write about it…
L said celebrate the beauty that is you…
A host of other people will give me advice–
But that’s not what I seek.
I seek my Truth.
I seek the silence, save for click-clack of keys and tap, tap of fingers on keyboards.
I seek my thoughts and feelings, whatever they are.
Uncensored. Untreated. Unpolished.
I seek an ear to hear my words without judgment or insertion of self.

Rejected from this agent who said she loved my voice, who said she really adored this piece she read before, who asked me for more and more–probably hoping something would connect with her totally.
But only in the end, to pretty much say to me, “It’s not you. It’s me…”

I have tried to make an analogy to this: you know, dating and so forth…
But it’s simply putting a band aid on my true and honest, deep-down gut feelings and thoughts–
I’m not hiding.

I want to say what I am “unable to say”–

But I can’t even find that because as I peer inside, all I see, all I hear is a bunch of euphemistic bullshit, a constant loop of well-meaning lovely phrases and words and sounds to make me “feel better”.

FUCK. Feeling. Better.

Except I don’t have the energy, and my left arm is killing me still from editing a manuscript over this weekend.

Left side hurts…doesn’t that control the right side of the body, the creative side?


Okay, you want to know the really deep-down-in-my-guts-truth about this Hurt from rejection?

Here it is:

I’m not insulted by this rejection or any of the rejection emails.
I am pissed.
I am frustrated.
I want a fucking chance in this bizarre world of publishing that has done nothing but tease me.

I just want ONE door to open, all the way.

That‘s it.

It really doesn’t matter what number rejection this is or even that I have been rejected. It’s more annoying and upsetting to have to go back, all the way back, to square one–continually.

It’s like the rocking horse.

You mistaken a positive response from an agent–a request for several pieces or a full request for a manuscript–you mistaken that for a step forward, for progress, but it’s not. In fact, it’s a rocking horse or hamster wheel–that‘s it–and you simply either get off, or you stay on, hoping that the horse will grow legs or the hamster wheel will (somehow) break out of the cage.

What do I do next? Do I get back on the rocking horse? Do I build legs? Do I set the hamster wheel free (open the cage, climb back onto the wheel, and then go?).

And what the hell does any of that translate to in terms of trying to get an agent?


But in the end, like Bonnie Rait says, I can’t make you love me if you don’t.

And yet today I wake up, sun shining, and like another (but bad) country song, the sun is shinin’ and I feel fine.  Gonna climb back onto that horse and ride…

1 comment:

Joanne Carnevale said...

No euphemisms or platitudes from me. It just f-ing sucks. If I had any power to right this wrong, it would have already been done.