Rejection City

So this is a blogpost about rejection. I was talking to a friend — a brilliant poet — and she told me that she had a big set-back earlier in the year. She had submitted several poems to a magazine she felt she had a personal relationship with, and the editor wrote back and said, “Not this time.” She told me that she didn’t know if she would ever write again. I know she was just feeling the August blahs and practicing some hyperbole — or I hope she was.

My goal this year is to get 100 rejections. You heard that right. So far I’ve managed 98 submissions of poetry, essays, or my poetry ms. And I’ve had (I’m guessing) about 30 acceptances. That means I still have at least 32 more submissions to make — and (horrors!) if any of those are accepted, then a few more for good measure.

Someone else gave me advice — and sent an adorable video of a three-year-old to illustrate it — of what might be called “radical acceptance.” The idea is to spend some time each day saying, “I LOVE my house,” “I LOVE my car,” “I LOVE this plant…this kid…this dog…this ratty old couch….” You get the picture. Just to flip that usual mode of noticing what isn’t okay, isn’t good enough, etc.

I love these rejections and how they’re helping me get closer to my goal of 100 rejections this year.

Well, it all sounds rather silly, now that I’m typing it up. I get bogged down by big stuff — and why shouldn’t I? Just like everyone, I often get caught by the little stuff and do some serious whining. On the other hand, sometimes I already practice this. A grown daughter hijacks a day when I really wanted to get other things done, and I decide to embrace it. My husband gets in a fender-bender, and I’m shot through the heart with gratitude that it was just a fender-bender and not anything worse. I get a headache and a voice from somewhere says, “I wonder what that’s asking you to pay attention to?”

I’m of course hugely grateful for the acceptance of two poems from Descant (a good place for you to send, too), and for the copy of Better Than Starbucks (with my poem!) that arrived in today’s mail.

And I’m very very grateful for the poems posted at Escape Into Life for August dog days (and I’ll of course be over-the-moon with gratitude if you check out that feature).



2 replies
  1. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Yay for the 100 Rejections project. I started doing that a few years back and have lapsed in my attempt, but you will be an inspiration to me to get going again! And thank you for your wonderful poems at EIL!


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