Love letter :Dealing with Rejection

Yesterday, I opened my mail to see my first ever love letter- from an editor. A letter that told me in the nicest possible way that what I had written was not suitable for them. And when I say nicest, I really mean it. I doubt most editors would take the pains to say why someone’s work did not fit the bill, beyond a  ‘Sorry, but this sucks!’

For that, I am grateful.

You see, the last time I was told that my writing sucked big-time was when I was in high school, twenty years ago. Yes, that was eons ago. Do you remember the time you turned in an essay to your favourite teacher, waited patiently by for the praise to flow and were stung by the way she dismissed your hours of labour? ‘Too many fancy words’; ‘Writing as though you turned on a Thesaurus in your brain’; ‘Stop using such long sentences!’ were just a few of the choice ones that were flung at me that day.

Adolescence is bad enough to go through without having the teacher making it worse. So, I went through the gamut of an emotional upheaval- Anger, bitterness, grudging acceptance, slow realisation, determination to change and finally writing more precisely.

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Photo courtesy: Amaliehoward.com

 

It took me many years to look back at that episode as an important one in my academic and personal life. Had I not been told that, I would still be churning out rambling essays with no coherence of thought. This brings me back to the present and about how the Universe conspires to send you a message in the right manner.

How do you think I reacted when I saw that rejection letter? Was I upset or angry? I could have been, but instead I viewed it with dispassionate calm. This last week, I have been reading a book. A wonderful, motivating, raw and anecdotal book called ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul- Inspiration for Writers’. The book, by itself, deserves a separate review post, but there were a couple of quotes that stood out for me. I had taken a notepad and jotted them both down on Wednesday.

Many writers have trouble separating comments about their work from comments about them.

– Suzan Moyer

It would seem that writing is a solitary thing. One beating heart, full of words, full of passion, hunkered over a keyboard alone. But, writers need one another. For encouragement; for sharpening. For help and hope. After all, we’re on the same sweet ladder.

And, I’d be missing a crazy amount of blessing if I were climbing all alone.

-Shawnelle Eliasen

Here’s where it gets interesting. I wrote these down on Wednesday and I received the rejection on Thursday. There is no such thing as coincidence. There is a time for everything. So, I was faced with a choice:

A) Feel helpless and annoyed that my writing was not good enough and throw in the towel, vowing never to type another word again.

B) Look at the letter as a positive boost to my work. It wasn’t bad, but it could be better, if I chose to work on it.

Today, I choose (B). Only because the letter came to me at a time that I was willing to receive it.

In the last year, writing groups all over the Web have caught my eye. But, I have been terrified to join any of them. The truth? I dreaded the way that they would systematically rip apart my carefully scripted piece, pointing out a dangling modifier here or an overly ornate description there.

Today, after reading the book and the letter, my resolve is firm. I will take the plunge and enrol in a writer’s support group.

Will my ‘book’ ever see publishing daylight? I don’t know and at this point, I won’t worry about it.

The other more important question is, ‘Am I ready to grow as a writer? Will I be willing to move beyond the ‘Nice post’, ‘Well written’, ‘Good job’ comments that are left on my posts and get to the core of what makes a really good piece? To that, I answer, YES! It’s time I take that plunge; out of my comfort zone and into uncharted waters.

It’s what my dad always says: ‘If you are receptive to change, change will seek you out.’

 

Go on and get some Moonshine for the weekend

This Post was  a Spicy Saturday Pick at Blog Adda!

spicysaturday

An old birthday card- #memories

She found it when she was cleaning out her dressing table one day. It had a blue background and on the inside was the real treasure. It had been more than 6 years since she had opened it. Yet, she hadn’t thrown it away, despite moving 3 houses in that period.

With a slight shake, she put it back in the shelf and continued to sort out her perfume bottles and her nail polish stand. Neatly, she arrayed the make-up box alongside the cluster of earrings that stood by, shining and twinkling in the central shelf.

Stepping back, she surveyed the order with a sense of achievement and nodded her head. Her eyes strayed back to the object and with a big sigh, she reached for it. Tucking one leg under her, she dropped onto the bean bag in the portico and read the birthday card through at one glance. Tears fell fast and freely as each word registered in her aching heart.

happy birthday

‘My dearest S,

You are 16 now and yet, I remember the time when I picked you up when you were hardly sixteen seconds old. You are catching up with my age. I am the same age at heart 😉 Your turning 16 jolts me to the realisation that we have been apart for such a long time.  I still recall with a great deal of nostalgia the days (and they were such happy days) when you used to run around as a toddler. Well, we will not have them anymore.

Seriously, turning this age is a major milestone, when the way you see the world and the world sees you begins to change subtly. It is also the age when one begins to act and think responsibly and you are already living up to it. With this new move abroad, you will be gearing up for new challenges and I am sure you will measure up admirably.

Wishing you the best in the years to come. I know you will do us all proud in the years to come, wherever you go and whatever you do.

With lots of love,

Uncle B.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This was a card I received on my 16th birthday from a very dear uncle.

Eight years ago, I lost him to cancer. The pain is still raw on some days.

This card gives me solace and brings his face and smile alive for me, each time I read it.

Miss you, Uncle B. Far more than words can convey.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Undying Love {#Writing101- Day 5}

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Writing 101 Prompt- Day 5:

You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

My dear Naina,

This is the last letter I will be writing. I know you probably haven’t opened the 14 others that I sent over the last 4 months. I know that you may never look at me again. It is impossible for me to expect forgiveness. All I ask is that, should you chance upon this note, just know that I always loved you.

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Picture courtesy: Shutterstock

There never was another woman.

You ought to know why I said it, I suppose. I couldn’t bear the thought of you watching me sink away. Remember me as I was- strong, thriving and holding you in my arms. Let the cancer take only me away and not the memory of us together.

Loving you till I die,

Rishabh

I read the letter again, with anguish and  helpless rage. How I wished I could find Naina and give her this epistle. My tears hit the ground beneath me and merged with the raindrops that fell from above. Even the skies were sobbing at my predicament.

 

©Shailaja V

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