Thursday, May 31, 2007

Swimming noodles and uppercuts.

I got my first rejection. The first of a lifetime, you say? Yes, I know. But I'm not ready to get used to this. I mean, how many times did Lyle Lovett hit on his favorite waitress at Olive Garden until he finally got a record contract and a mini-marriage with Julia? A lot, I tell you. Would you giggle and flirt with Lyle Lovett at an airport bar if you thought he was a dentist? Only if he carried nitrous in a Camelbak, I tell ya.

What are we talking about?

Oh. So I've got a friend who writes and we realized a couple weeks ago we had submitted pieces to the same magazine. I told him last night I got rejected, and he did a little victory dance because he'd not yet heard back from the editors. I didn't think I was competitive about this particular pursuit, but I felt my shoulders hunch and my fists clench as he hopped around in a circle. When things go badly somehow my body wants to box. I had a dream about him last night. He was taunting me from very far away with a big swimming noodle. A big green foamy swim toy. And this is what it means: I want to punch him in the face and then go swimming.

So with this type of insight, you'd think I'd be wowing editors right and left. Maybe I need more punch in my stories.


Blogger Orange said...

His was so poor a writing specimen, they're still mulling over the right approach to rejecting him. Whereas you came across as a real writer who is accustomed to the slings and arrows of writerly fortune, the occasional rejection.


5/31/2007 4:34 PM  
Blogger meno said...

No, since he's about to attack you with a swimming noodle, it means that he doesn't really want to hurt you.

And then you want to go swimming.

5/31/2007 6:24 PM  
Blogger kintheatl said...

LMAO...sorry about your rejection. I don't think I would have tolerated the hopping around from that guy very well either. I'm fairly certain I would have wanted to sweep his feet out from beneath him.

Better luck next time

5/31/2007 9:19 PM  
Blogger spellconjurer said...

they respected your writing enough, and the promise it holds, to send you correspondence with REAL POSTAGE. He however,,,,,well. I was just telling mamalujo the other day, that once you write something, you have to turn it over to us. To the reader. Who will each have a unique response to it. Don't let one publisher convince you you've written crap. Don't let me convince you you are universally brilliant. (I'm completely biased for undefinable reasons) If you wrote a book, and 90% of the people who read it hated it,,,,,but 10% of the readers loved it to the point of some cultish phenom, creating a fan club, reenactments of the story, costume parties, and celebrations of Mignon Day, would it feel bad? Or good? I don't want to be a writer. (thank god for all of you, as you can see from the content of my comments alone) I might be missing some obvious point about the drive to succeed at this. Defining "good" is so subjective. I think you are the cats meow. I might just start a Mignon day myself.

6/01/2007 8:56 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

I hope instead of a simple rejection letter he gets a note back that says, "YOU SUCK." That would teach him! Hmph.

6/01/2007 1:44 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

Orange, so you're saying I already looked like a loser? It's okay. My friend showed me his drawer of shame yesterday. He had about 30 letters with the word "Sorry" in some form or another.

Meno, that's astute. Why don't we get together and call ourselves and institute? (Really, why don't we?)

Kintheatl, thank you. I thought I was being too competitive about the thing, but I think he just has an unusual sense of humor. His wife didn't think it was that funny either.

Spellconjurer, as usual you made me feel good about myself. And you're dead-on about the right story for the right audience. Plus, I don't think I sent that magazine my best piece. So back to work. Unfortunately they don't provide feedback, so I'm not exactly sure which direction to go (for their tastes, at least).

Tink, knowing him, he would crack up and forget about it the next day. Which is why he was so ridiculous about my rejection. Everything is like water on a duck's back to him. The good, the bad. He's just a spacey guy.

6/01/2007 4:32 PM  
Anonymous lildb said...

you are KILLING me.


6/01/2007 5:55 PM  
Anonymous kerrianne said...

You had me from "Swimming noodles and uppercuts."

6/01/2007 9:04 PM  
Blogger meno said...

Are you quoting Paul Simon at me?

6/01/2007 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Ortizzle said...

Oh, crap. Just when I gave up clicking over here on a regular basis, and I miss two posts in a row.

The rejection letter? Hey, stuff it in drawer. And if there are more, there are more. That will just make more fodder for the bonfire. The one you are going to do a little happy dance around when you get an acceptance letter. Go, Mignon. (I would so love to read a sample... I think you have us all salivating here.)

6/02/2007 10:08 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

Hmmm... there's something Freudian about the phallic nature of the swimming noodle I think. But Meno's got a point, noodles, though large, are pretty innocuous. Maybe it's a statement about how this guy sees himself.

6/02/2007 6:30 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

I think the rejection letter is a part of the process and if you didn't go through it you would not grow as a writer. Do not give up (easy for me to say, I gave up after 10).

I agree, tell the dude that they didn't even want to waste a stamp. Did he include an SASE?

6/03/2007 5:11 AM  
Blogger patches said...

I always thought limp swimming noodles symbolized genital insecurity...but sometimes a noodle is just a noodle, or maybe he was challenging you to a chicken fight.

6/03/2007 6:13 PM  
Blogger Arabella said...

I saved all my rejection letters from my million and one job interviews in law school. Someday, your rejection letters will be a quirky factoid in a list of famous-author trivia.

You know what they once said about Fred Astaire: "Can't act. Slightly bald. Also dances." He showed 'em.

Plus, at least you're submitting. That's way more than I can say.

6/04/2007 9:45 AM  
Anonymous stella said...

ummm..HELLO! you suck, because i told you to tell me when you started writing again...b/c in case you hadn't noticed i axed your ass off my no way to know.

now i have catch up to do. AS IF, i didn't have enough to know being employed and all.

thanks a lot. next time. MEMO...please?


6/04/2007 11:16 AM  
Anonymous stella said...

have you read Bird By Bird yet???

you have to read it.

and i can totally relate to this post.

:-( i was just there not too long ago. only i was merely getting EDITED for a piece that WOULD run...but it STILL felt like rejection.

now the piece is out...and i see how much its been chopped up...and it feels like its not even mine.

maybe im just an ungrateful bastard. try not to get too down on yourself and just keep at it.


6/04/2007 5:01 PM  
Blogger Mamalujo said...

Mignon, a small "preview," if you will.

Your blog writing is more natural. This post is a great example. You've said, elsewhere, that you can toss off a blog post in ten minutes, whereas your serious writing takes hours. Think about that. Who says that a serious creative writing effort has to come from some different part of your brain, or involve some other type of more disciplined approach?

I have no doubt that you have a sensitive, intelligent, perceptive and creative mind. It comes out in every one of your posts. Or, you LET it come out in your blogging.

More later and elsewhere.

6/05/2007 11:30 AM  
Anonymous LetterB said...

Believe it or not if you keep it up you will someday say to yourself "Wow, this is a great rejection letter!" This is a tough part of the process but it gets better as you get closer and closer to yes.

6/06/2007 10:38 AM  
Blogger spellconjurer said...

Hey Mignonnnnnnnnn!!!!! Stop hanging out at the grocery store in your new town, punching the sides of beef in the cooler in preparation for the noodle retaliation. Do you like your new town? Have you found any special new spots? Am I prying by asking even? How's the new house working out? Finished unpacking? BBQ'd on the deck yet? Played any badminton in the back yard? Any beaches nearby? Museums? Miniature golf? Justtttttttt kidding. Sort of. Snort.

6/06/2007 6:16 PM  
Blogger Jaye Wells said...

I would have punched him.

6/06/2007 9:05 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

Meno, yes I am. Half the stuff I say is ripped off from either 2 Live Crew or Paul Simon, I'm afraid.

Oh crap. Too many comments I want to respond to all of them... in my head I am. Take my word.

Spellconjurer, can I please give you a name that doesn't make me feel like a Dungeons and Dragons geek when I'm responding to you? Cassandra? Gwen? I choose Gwen. Anyway, GWEN, we didn't move towns, just homes. So all the same stuff can now be seen from my bicycle instead of driving driving driving to get to a decent coffee shop. I guess it was a little like moving towns. I didn't know Crystal Video was so awesome and Le Petite Outre makes incredible hazelnut shortbread. And so on and so on.

6/07/2007 10:57 AM  
Blogger spellconjurer said...

hmmmmmmm well I sometimes get called impy online, cause of an old yahoo id. Is Impy better? If you didn't even move towns, then my stalking isn't going so well. Haaaaa Ha. Oh and Gwen is ok too. Ya know I was at someone's house when I created spellconjurer and I was stuck for a name and I looked over and the guy that lived there was playing some pc game called (I forget what it was) and somewhere in the book was Spellconjurer,,,,. It's the same way I pick passwords. Just look around me and see something and voila. Then when I striaghten up, or clean, I can't remember passwords anymore. Bleah.

6/07/2007 11:45 AM  
Anonymous wordgirl said...

"Bird by Bird" IS a great resource for writing (in specific) as well as living ( in general). I wish I had advice on fiction writing and getting it published. It's like the old Steve Martin joke that goes: "How do you become a millionaire...well...first you need to get a million dollars". Same is true for writing. How do you get someone to look at your stuff and publish it? First, send them some publised clips. It's cruel aspect of life as a creative person. Just keep going.

6/10/2007 1:26 PM  
Blogger Feral Mom said...

You know you've been rejected when the rejection begins with "Dear Writer..." Sweet damn, I'm glad
you're back, if only for a quickie.

6/10/2007 9:16 PM  
Anonymous kathie said...

I had the same reaction--being rejected in writing is my first semi-failure. I don't see it as a real failure because I know my novels will see print daylight, I just have to find the right match. I've done the work, now I need the timing, etc. The more I get rejected, the more I'm sure of my abilities for some odd reason. But, boy the first few sting like a mother.

7/29/2007 6:48 AM  

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