Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rejection and the Rain

66º ~  RAIN!  the good & gentle kind of rain that is necessary after a drought, plenty of time to soak in, I didn't think I'd ever smell this smell again, delicious wet earth smell, a bit of distant thunder

Our front walk, wet leaves.
This morning, I'm catching up on recording my recent rejections before I launch into a full-scale grade-a-thon.  (No classes today as the annual conference of Arkansas two-year colleges wraps up.  I opted out of the conference to prepare advising material at the office yesterday and to grade today.)

A word about rejections.  I think I've lived with them long enough to see the upside.  The upside is that I go back to the poems with new critical eyes if the poems get rejected over and over again.  Coincidentally, both rejections I'm recording this morning are for the same group of poems, which have been rejected a few times already.  This tells me that either the poems need more work individually or they aren't working as a group.  Most likely, it's a little of both. 

The first rejection is a little painful because I've worked with this journal closely in the past and feel like I have at least something of a relationship with the editors.  However, I received the standard form rejection with no personalization at all.  I know that editors are busy people who are underpaid and under-appreciated for what they do.  And yet, I was taught that it was important to establish a relationship with editors and so I try by reminding them of our past relationships when I submit or sending them emails when I like an issue or a poem in an issue above and beyond the rest.  It's disheartening to then receive the standard reply.  Nonetheless, I will send again in the future with hope in my heart and a certain thickness to my skin.

The other rejection is the kind I love to get.  It's quite specific that the poems don't work for the journal, but the editors want to see more.  The editor who wrote the note even went so far as to say "feel free to disregard the closing date of our reading period."  I'm never sure what to do when an editor says to send more work and usually err on the side of caution by waiting until the next reading period.  I know that I've lost some opportunities because of this caution.  (Once again, I was taught that it is best not to anger an editor by sending outside the reading period or sending too often, much like walking softly around a sleeping bear and offering the honey at the right time.)  Therefore, I was happy to see this specific information.  I will definitely search for something to send them soon.

All of this reminds me that I'm woefully behind on sending out poems.  I'm so happy that I got my August submissions out (and have gotten a few acceptances!); otherwise, I'd be high and dry right now.  Perhaps our rainy day today will auger good things for future growth via submissions and acceptances.


Nancy Devine said...

the encouraging rejections are good. (only writers say this sort of thing!)
the rejections for poems i like and have worked hard on...not so good. yet when one of those poems i like and have worked hard on gets published....elation.

Sandy Longhorn said...

ditto, Nancy.

Carol Berg said...

Thanks so much for sharing your rejection woes. It's always nice to know you're not alone....


Sandy Longhorn said...

You're welcome, Carol. Thanks for sharing the pain. :)