Yesterday afternoon I took a time out. I rested on the patio, read a book and did nothing. Nothing at all. It was a welcome respite from the past few weeks of insanity. As I began to ponder my impending search for an agent, I began to consider the idea of rejection.
Rejection. It doesn't matter how old you are, how good-looking/not-good-looking you happen to be, no matter your financial standing, no matter your job, no matter if you drive an old jalopy that squeals when you put it in reverse. Wait, I'm telling on myself with that one. Anyhoo, Rejection sucks.
I remember my first bitter taste of rejection. I was in the 2nd grade. I liked a boy named Wesley, although for the life of me I don't know why. After all, he did wear his collar flipped up even THEN (and I don't care what anyone thinks, flipped up collars are an affront to the fashion community at large). Wesley also thought Howard the Duck was the best movie in the world. But, I digress.
I was in 2nd grade. Valentines Day flooded upon our little classroom. All the girls wore red and white, there were paper snowflake hearts taped all over the room, and I was beyond excited. I had carefully assembled a Valentine Card box. It was basically a decorated shoe box with a hole cut in the top. We all labeled our names on them, and then the teacher lined them up in the front of the classroom. The idea was that everyone could give out Valentines in secret, so no one would know who it came from. A silly little romance scenario, especially for 2nd graders, but we girls thought it was fantastic.
My Valentine Box beat everyone. Seriously. My mom (the artist) decorated mine with lace and ornate beads and gemstones. I wore my favorite red Mickey and Minnie sweatshirt with a jean skirt. Carefully hidden in the middle of my Valentines, was one especially for Wesley. I'm a little foggy on what it said exactly, but I do remember distinctly that it had a picture of Kermit the Frog and a lot of hearts on it. I think I scrawled something pathetic at the bottom, "I like you do you like me?"
When the time came, I stealthily slipped Wesley's special card into his box. Now, here is where the story gets complicated. After cards were handed out, we grabbed our boxes to see if anyone 'liked' us. I watched Wesley secretively, and he eventually pulled my card out and examined it. Now, the following series of events have always mystified me. Wesley proceeded to stick one of his fingers deep into his nostril, pull out a monstrous bugger, and wipe it on my card. Then, waving it in the air, he began to prance around class, hissing and booing about the 'booger card' somebody gave him. There was my carefully planned message of love, with a bright green snot smear right across Kermit's face.
What possessed him? I have no idea. Perhaps my love filled message was too much, overcoming his little brain and causing it to short circuit. No one knew the card was from me, but the horror was unimaginable. I cowered behind my little flip top desk, my toes sweating inside my ruffled ankle socks; praying no one would find out.
But when it comes to books, I'm finding there is no flip top desk to hide behind. You send the query letter, your name emblazoned for all the publishing/agent world to see. I don't look forward to that. But in comparison, I'm finding some comfort in knowing that no matter how brutal the rejection emails and letters may be; they won't be smeared with Wesley's snot. And somehow, that's comforting.