It's been a week of rejection letters (from two journals to be exact), communicating with Anne Sexton, of giving away poetry books (2) and numerous broadsides, of winning several books in return, and a couple days with extra dogs in the home since my last confession.
I think I have a pretty good attitude about rejection letters. This in fact may be the easiest form of rejection for me to deal with. I have a rationalization about it that goes like this: To get things published you have to send work out. When you do that two things can happen. You can get rejected or you can have your work accepted and published but in order for that to happen you MUST risk the rejection. So I generally shrug off rejections as a necessary part of the game. A necessary evil, an occupational hazard. you don't want to be rejected, don't submit, or don't even write. I confess that now writing would be harder then submitting ever is for me. But back to this week. One of my rejections was 296 days in the making. Five pieces rejected in one swoop. One very long awaited - hell, I gave up on hearing from them swoop. The funny thing is two of them have already been published elsewhere and it had been so long that I had given up on this venue and I confess I did not notify them to withdraw the two pieces. Frankly, I was no longer holding my breath since blue is not my best color.
There is what I call a good rejection letter. The second one fell into this category. In it the editor write, "I enjoyed it all, and particularly liked 'xxxxxx' and 'xxxxxxx,' but unfortunately neither fit the theme of our upcoming issue."If the editor takes the time to acknowledge something about one or more of your poems you know that you work has hope and that you are not off track and two states away. So now I confess that things are looking up because you have to get rejections if you are going to get acceptances.
If only life itself was this simple. I do have a less thick skin when it comes to others forms of rejection. I'm probably no different then the next person when they have been excluded from something of interest or not considered for a position, or picked for a team. These things do drag me down and I don't deny it.
About Anne Sexton... no I haven't been conducting a seance. Anne and I have had a bit of a special relationship for some time now because she is my dead poet mentor. Before you laugh I suggest if you write you should find a dead writer mentor as well. I confess that at times I've gone to my bookcase and pulled off a copy of her complete poems and asked what would Anne do when confronted with a writing problem.
This past week she was the Poet Tarot card that came to me and I felt she actually understood some of my recent trials and tribulations. I confess this was a but different because this week I felt like she came to me as opposed to me seeking her out.
National Poetry month seemed very busy to me and I don't for one minute feel bad that it's over. Still, it was a good month. Lots of poetry shared and a poem written every day. I confess that these are not my best works but some of them may be reshaped into something that has a life. I was very glad I participated in giving away two books this year in the Annual Poetry Book Give Away. When I notified the winners, each truly seemed excited. The books went in the mail yesterday and I'm hopeful that each winner enjoys the books selected as well as I have.
I confess, I've lost count of how many books I won this year but will update you one them as they arrive and I read them. Still, I feel most blessed by the sharing of poetry this year. The two books I offered in the drawing and the many broadsides that I have sent out or handed out at readings during the month of April.