in recent years

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SPURNED

Rejection. Rejection is stone cold. It is merciless and cruel. It doesn’t care that you’re having a terrible week or that your dog died or that you broke your finger when you fell down the stairs in front of the hot guy from your morning class. It does not care about your motivation, your attitude, your enthusiasm, or your patience. It will crush you whether it’s been a week, a month, or a year of waiting.

Rejection’s a monster.

You’ve been writing since you were a kid and got your creative writing degree and submitted a story to the lit mag at your college and got in and it was joyous and you were like, “Damn, girl, a published writer at twenty-two!” and patted yourself on the back and didn’t submit (nor really write) fuck-all for the next two years. Way to be proactive, Ash!

And then you submit a story a prof you respect said you should submit lo those whole damn two years ago and, since he made mention of it, you submit it to the lit mag he suggested. And you pat yourself on the back again like, “Yeah, I’m the man, being brave!” and you wait.

And you wait.

And you wait.

And you wait some more.

Then you learn that this random-ass lit mag is actually like, the third most competitive in the country and you shit your pants and go, “What the actual fuck was I thinking?” and maybe you freak out and you’re like, “Damn, they’re just hanging on to it to LAUGH AT ME AREN’T THEY!”

And you wait some more anyway.

And four months pass and you feel a tiny little zygote of hope blooming in the uterus of your heart and you’re like, “Nobody can laugh for four months!”

And you wait a little longer.

And then you get a slap so bad the fingerprints mark your face for a month in the form of a form letter.

And it goes something like this:

Thank you, Fuck-Face Amateur, for giving us four months of the hardest laughs you could imagine. Annie Grace pissed her pants twice and Frank Rebo almost had an aneurysm. This piece isn’t right for us. And none of your future ones will be either, but feel free to submit anyway. Shits and giggles don’t come along like that often.

Sincerely,
Bitter Editors Who May or May Not Actually Be Talented

And maybe you cry. And maybe you don’t.

Time passes and you get over it and you start to feel okay again. And in the meantime, you’re plugging away in an MFA program, writing a novel (which you’ve never even tried before) and it’s not going great and another short story gets shredded by classmates and professor alike and it’s like, “FUCK. Writing sucks. What the fuck was I thinking?” and you submit somewhere else because you have to and you pick another mag you know nothing about and you make sure you don’t learn anything about it PERIOD.

And you wait.

And you wait some more.

And four fucking more months pass (god damn if it ain’t your golden number) and you get… a fucking form letter.

Dear Talentless Hack,

Thanks so much for the bozofest that PDF turned out to be! God damn did we have a good time tearing it apart up here. Even printed it out and pinned it up on the hall bulletin board for everyone to see. Please submit again in the future, we run out of toilet paper often.

Sincerely,
Those Who Can’t Write, Edit

And you are bitter as FUCK. And you don’t cry because you have steeled yourself for this moment. But then it rains. And you’re stalled in your novel. And your mid-program check-up is rushing on you and you’re barely at half of what you have to turn in twenty-three days from now and FUCK.

And then you pick a fight with your girlfriend and everything sucks. And you step in cat puke and you leave your car window open in the rain and your parents fight and you run out of milk and some dickbag eats your hot cheetos.

But rejection?

Doesn’t give a shit.

Note: But you go balls out on that rainy night and you submit that rejected story to a writing contest anyway because that’s what writers DO.
Note2: But you at least manage to give yourself a massive boner when the right title finally nails you in the face after it’s spent TWO YEARS with a REALLY REALLY SHITTY ONE.
Note3: And you realize that, truthfully, you haven’t even given this submission shit one one-hundredth of the chance you have to in order to ~make it~ in the industry. And that statistically you’re batting like .300 which isn’t so bad after all.