20 June 2008

Still no rejection letters

Almost three months ago I sent a short story out into the world. I've done it before, but it doesn't seem to get less scary with practice. This time I approached it the same way I approached applying to grad schools. Instead of sending the story just to the one literary journal I really wanted to be published in, I sent it to a whole gang of them.

The envelopes slipped through the mail slot at the post office, full with their crisp white stories, SASEs, and painstakingly written cover letters. (Why are those darn things so much harder to write than anything else?) Letting them go was like carefully placing a tiny boat in a stream that I knew would end in an ocean full of more tiny boats just like mine only different. But it felt good. My story deserved to end up in that heap of other boats. It deserved not to whither and die in the stack on my shelf.

Yet here I am, three months and no word, she doesn't call, she doesn't write...

For a month or so afterward I tried to forget that they were out there at all, those stories of mine. Then I started looking, checking the mail every day: "I'm expecting some rejection letters," I'd say casually, to anyone who would listen. But they didn't come.

And it's summer, so maybe, even though they were sent within the prescribed time limits, the journal offices are empty, the graduate student volunteers who will decide which boats end up in the trash are out skinny dipping and taking hikes.

Still, it's starting to feel heavy, the lack of rejection letters presses in on me, where are they? I need them. I need to know that I've really started, that this dropping the envelopes in the mailbox is the beginning of something and not the end. I need to know that they made safe passage, even if when they got there, they turned out to be the wrong kind of boat.

8 comments:

Annika said...

Aww, I'm sure you'll get one sooner or later.

Carrie said...

Just writing about it will turn things around for you. Hopefully you'll have something in your mailbox today or tomorrow. And not just a rejection letter either. :)

Misty said...

LOL. I hate the birthing of a query letter... I hate the "art" of receiving the form rejection letter, and the hearing nothing...

you are so right though, it DOESN'T get easier with time. They lie...

novaren said...

The endless waiting is the most unbearable part of this, don't I know it! But congratulations on sending your story out into the world... I hope answers (good answers) come soon, and until then? Try submission amnesia. What story? When? Where? Then when a letter comes you can pretend to be surprised.

Note: This only works half of the time. The other half of the time I'm feeling around inside my mailbox, wondering if somehow I missed something.

Maureen said...

Maybe no news is good news... right? Fingers crossed here for your little boat.

Jen said...

Maybe no news is good news? I guess I don't really know how these things work.

YOu're very brave though. I know I can't even handle it when someone doesn't answer one of my emails. To put yourself out there like that, risking rejection, (or no answer at all!) is very brave and really admire you for it. (Um, that sounds like a backhanded compliment but I really mean it!)

Writer, Rejected said...

Hang in there, bro. They always stream in. Check out Literary rejections on Display in case you're lonely for one. We have a ton of them! Good luck.

andi said...

Would you like my rejection letter? It's ever so shiny.

I'm hoping the other commenters are right and it's a "no news is good news" situation.