Monday, April 7, 2014

Rejection? I'll Pass

I was warned that breaking into the writing business would be tough. I'm fully prepared for that. While clacking away on the ol' Dell, sometimes I can't help feeling guilty. Imagine getting paid for sitting in climate-controlled comfort and discussing anything which comes to mind. Heck, I know some folks who pay a lot of money for the same experience, only they're free associating, and some bearded analyst is calculating, hourly, how much closer he is to pumping up that French Riviera vacation fund.

Writing is a hobby for me. It doesn't involve paint, glue, or a sports jersey with a number of my favorite athlete (Troy Polamalu, because you wondered.) I can write about anything and everything, and I do exactly that.

That, of course, leads to more rejections than Fred Phelps at a K.D. Lang concert. This morning, I was expecting a "let's soften the blow" kind of turn down. I guess that's why I was in a bit of a funk when my best song-and-dance attempt at marketing myself was met with "I'll pass" by a paper famous within a hundred miles of a neighboring state.

I'm pouting. I'll admit it. I really had my heart set on a letter in my mailbox informing me that my masterpiece -the one over which I had labored dearly for almost forty-five minutes- would be returned to me with "doesn't suit our present needs". Then, of course, I'd have had something to hang on my wall in complete tongue-in-cheek tradition. I had envisioned hanging it directly under my bachelor's degree, which has enough stories of its own, including glottal stops, Freudian emotional defense mechanisms, statistical analyses, and handcuffs, the latter being used in response to an epic manic outburst one evening. The rejection, complete with the editor's signature, would have intoned a "welcome to the big leagues, kid. Sometimes ya strike out".

What does one do with an emailed "I'll pass"?

A great many things have passed through my mind regarding such a rejection. The first was to issue a how-dare-you, which seemed silly and pointless. I'm not saying I didn't express such feedback to the editor, but now it seems so trite as to make me wonder why I wasted my time providing such feedback to someone whom I'll never meet in the first place.

Then I considered downloading the rejection and thumb tacking it to my wall, but that seemed kind of ridiculous. Among my degree and two beautifully displayed Steelers plaques, I didn't want to affix a paper rejection to the drywall.

Then I hit on an idea: I'd visit a frame shop, design an appropriate-sized frame, and have it cut down (an appropriate choice of words, considering) to the proper size. The frame will approximate perhaps an inch and a quarter by a half of an inch. (That might be the right size, considering the total number of frames I'll likely need in order to display the number of rejections I may be getting.) In the spirit of deadpan humor, "I'll pass" will be framed, lovingly, by mahogany and covered in the finest glazed sheet of glass -a tribute to the "I'll passes" which will no doubt come my way almost every time I submit something for publication.

I'm not giving up. There are over nine thousand papers across the U.S. I like the odds. Eventually landing a writing gig will be well worth the large number of editors passing on my column submissions. I can't help feeling optimistic. Worries about rejection?

I'll pass.

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