Thursday, February 21, 2013

Surviving Rejection

If you are a writer then you understand rejection. You know the submission process, the waiting and checking your inbox or mailbox. That feeling when your manuscript goes into the world, that minute where you are confident. And as soon as it's gone you wonder if you could have changed something.

Last week I received a form rejection after 6 months to a contest I entered. I knew it was a rejection right away because it was a SASE. It stated that there were over 900 entries and included the name of the winner. I had that moment of wondering why she had won and then instead of stewing, I googled her which lead me to her poetry. I was blown away.

Not only was the poetry amazing but it spoke to me because of the similarities we shared in life. She was a mother whose child had been medically fragile. She wrote stunning poetry about what could be my life.

While weeping over her poem, I instantly felt connected and truly happy that she been chosen. So I sent her an email of congratulations and she responded.

I since have been able to look at my own manuscript with so much more objectivity and openness. I can see why it didn't win. I was able to be honest with myself because I was honest with her.
So time to revise and enter again next year.

Congrats again, Maria Hummel.

Maria Hummel

Days you are sick, we get dressed slow,
find our hats, and ride the train.
We pass a junkyard and the bay,
then a dark tunnel, then a dark tunnel.

You lose your hat. I find it. The train
sighs open at Burlingame,
past dark tons of scrap and water.
I carry you down the black steps.

Burlingame is the size of joy:
a race past bakeries, gold rings
in open black cases. I don’t care
who sees my crooked smile

or what erases it, past the bakery,
when you tire. We ride the blades again
beside the crooked bay. You smile.
I hold you like a hole holds light.

We wear our hats and ride the knives.
They cannot fix you. They try and try.
Tunnel! Into the dark open we go.
Days you are sick, we get dressed slow.

Source: Poetry (September 2010).


  1. Oh honey, you found another soulmate in this wide, vast world. How beautiful!

  2. Rejection is part of the process. It's how we handle the rejection that gives us depth & makes us better writers. Sounds as though you handled it perfectly. Keep writing. You're awesome!