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Monday, May 21, 2007

Better to have loved and lost

I've been trying not to think about it much. Even so, it's difficult to not think about the possibilities of success. It's difficult to not think about the disappointment of failure. And 10 weeks is a long time to have to wait for an answer.

While Preschooler in Chief was in the hospital, I wrote a 4,000-word essay and submitted it to Brain, Child magazine. It had nothing to do with hospitals. It had nothing to do with sick children. It had nothing to do with surgeries or doctors or transfusions or heart transplants. It was like water for my mind during a horrible drought of normalcy. It was an escape from those white walls, those never-ending alarms beeping, the sound of other children crying, the sound of my own child crying, the sound of me crying.

Writing an article for Brain, Child was one of my 2007 goals. Actually, writing the essay was not the goal. Getting an essay accepted for eventual publication was the goal. And I found that writing was such a wonderful escape. It was so gratifying to open that laptop and be taken away from that hospital room for an hour as I dove into my past and really thought about my life growing up the daughter of a belly dancer. What did it all mean? Did it affect my childhood? Did it affect how I see myself as a woman? As a person? If so, how? How did her dancing affect our mother-daughter relationship? And ultimately, what does it mean for my children?

Thinking about my carefree childhood was an escape. It filled me up in a way that the ultimate dessert could satisfy a desperate sweet tooth. It was just what I needed. It was available whenever I needed it. For all intents and purposes, my childhood was simple and wonderful. And thinking about it, writing about it was totally satiating. Because simple and wonderful was not really in great supply during that long hospitalization. Simple and wonderful are not words we use to talk about the hospital.

Anyway, I heard from the editor today that they decided to give my essay a pass. She told me that the magazine receives upwards of 750 submissions for every issue they publish--and they only publish quarterly. Fortunately I really wrote the piece for me. Still, even with all the personal gratification, it is disappointing to be rejected. That said, I'm not just going to let it go--my essay or my goal. It just means I have a bit more work to do. Phooey.

3 comments:

  1. Rejection just sucks. It doesn't matter if you write for yourself or for others, or just because. When it gets rejected by an editor/agent/reviewer/anyone it just blows the big one. I hate it. Still. And my novel has been on submission at least 3 times now (that means at least 15 editors).

    I wish it got easier. It doesn't. But it does make me more determined (and hopefully you).

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  2. I agree with Bethany - rejection sucks! I just wanted to say that before I say how much I admire you for even completing a 4,000 word essay for submission to a publication - given how your year has been.

    I just got my latest issue of Brain,Child (thanks to you again for the lovely gift) and I will crack it open and read away when a moment allows. And I will be waiting for the day when I open it and see your name there. I'll rush out and buy dozens and dozens of copies to share with everyone I know and proudly say - "She's my friend!!!!!!"

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  3. As a very tender sounding board and wonderfully soft shoulder, you have been a person to lean on more then I can count. The problem with reject as an artist (and I consider writing an amazing form of art) is that you pour yourself into your work. I remember when I started in this photo gig stuff and I started getting rejection letters and such - I actually contemplated keeping them! Good thing I didn't because I wouldn't know where to begin. If you need a few contacts for other magazines - let me know and Brain, Child will still be there a little longer!

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