Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Adventures in Rejection: Sixteenth Time's the Charm

October 20th was an interesting day. I woke up, went to brunch and ate my typical Sunday meal of biscuits and gravy with green grapes on the side, played on the Internet for awhile, took a nap, ate a burrito, made some lesson plans, watched an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy, and called my dad. Then I checked my e-mail.

And there, in glorious black and white, was an acceptance letter for a poem of mine called "Thursday."

A little context: I wrote "Thursday" sometime in early 2012. The first time I submitted it was April 22, 2012. Since that time, I have sent it out on 22 separate occasions, both to contests and literary magazines. It was rejected 15 times before someone said yes (the remaining six instances were too fresh to have garnered a response by the time the poem was accepted).

I don't spend a lot of time spouting maxims like "patience is a virtue" or "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again." This is because I am 1) the least patient person I know, with the possible exception of my niece, and 2) easily discouraged. And the fact is, I am willing to give up on some poems when they have been passed over numerous times, because I re-read them and realize that they still need work, aren't quite finished, or are not worth the effort. However, in this case, I refused to back down, because I knew in my gut that this was a good poem. 

NB: I almost never say that about my work. For the most part, I think I'm a terrible writer. From time to time, though, my tiny little brain does magical things and I have to run with it. This was one of those times. 

There's a lesson in here, I guess. It's probably "never give up; never surrender," or maybe it's "Cate is always right." (Hint: I am not always right.) Or it's that awesome things happen when you write poems about this dude? Yeah, that's the one.


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