I first wrote A Note about Rejection Letters in March of 2007, one month before Gary Wilkens and I founded The Externalist: A Journal of Perspectives. The Externalist is more than two years old now, and as I continue to receive rejection letters of my own, I’m forced to consider the whole process from the other side of the desk. I know now that a rejection really might have nothing to do with the quality of my work. I know now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if an editor takes the time to write a note on my rejection letter, that is a positive sign (unless, of course, it says something like “Don’t ever submit to us again”). I know that good writing is turned down all the time and that if one market doesn’t like a piece, another market still might. Interestingly enough, none of this makes me feel any better. Rejection is, after all, still rejection, right?
I once wrote the wrong name on a Father’s Day card. I was twelve and I’d had a few fathers by then, some “official” and some not. Fathers were fleeting things–like butterflies that fluttered just an inch too high for me to reach when we lived in northern Idaho, or the jets that flew so high and fast that they were out of eyeshot by the time I knew they were there when we lived outside McChord Air Force Base in Washington, or the thunderstorms that appeared out of nowhere and dissipated just as fast nearly every summer afternoon that we lived in Glen Burnie, Maryland. And fathers’ temperaments varied to about the same degree. So you can imagine that as I’ve read various articles this past week about Father’s Day, its role in family life, and its value and celebration mechanisms as compared to Mother’s Day, I found myself nodding at all of them even when one disagreed with another I’d read the day before. The truth is that fathers day meant very little to me until my second husband proved just how important fathers really are.
A couple years ago, I stumbled upon an author that I’d never heard of, but in such a way that I knew I should know who he was. That is to say, a movie trailer specifically gave his name which happens so rarely with any author short of Stephen King or John Grisham that I was actually surprised by the inclusion (pleasantly surprised as authors get little enough attention in an A.D.D. culture already). After seeing the movie which made me laugh harder than I’d laughed in a long time, I decided to do a little research on this author, after which point I promptly went to the bookstore and purchased four of his titles. What can I say? I was feeling brazen.
As a person who writes science fiction and fantasy, I have a terrible confession to make. I hate Star Trek. All Star Trek. As a child, I would occasionally dart into the living room when someone was watching it on TV and I’d roll my eyes at the horrible special effects and dart right back out again. When I was a teenager, I watched the Next Generation because I had a terrible crush on Will Riker. Later, I would bury my head in a book while my husband watched Deep Space Nine. I saw a grand total of two episodes of Voyager and I didn’t know they made a Star Trek Enterprise until I was looking at the Wikipedia article just now trying to remember the name of Voyager…