This is about as honest as it gets for a writer. For a person.
I have a low rejection threshold. And one of the toughest assaults to my self-awareness is my newfound ability to admit it.
In an article shared on FaceBook today, Mary Doria Russell (the author of the amazing book “The Sparrow”) revealed that she had been dumped by her publisher or ten-plus years. This, a woman who has written a book that still appears on shelves, is still talked about, has not lost its ability to steal breath…dumped. She has found another publisher…but….
So where does that leave the rest of us?
And it is that reality—for me, a pre-reality in that I have not been pursuing the channels that will get me back in print—that lays me low.
Truth to tell? I’m terrified.
Other writers, creative artists, “normal” people have thicker skins. Mine resists calluses. In the condition of being an open nerve ending that so well describes me, I am the antithesis of the soul who can swim despite the undertow of disapproval.
Rejection and I have a solid hate-hate regard of one another. Hell, I can’t even stomach rejection on online dating sites. The message I just received, “Thank you for your attention, but I am not interested in pursuing a relationship”, has laid me low. A person I don’t even know—who does not know me—has rejected me. And I don’t understand why.
A vicious circle, this: try, fail; don’t try, don’t fail—but never succeed. Sometimes, the idea of not making the attempt is much more comforting than the prospect of the bad answer. Alone is better…unpublished is better…than the unsuccessful opposite. I am beyond sense. Beyond reason. Way-way beyond my ability to rein-in the feeling racing out of control.
Sometimes I feel as if I am one bad moment away from turning my face to the wall.
And the rest of you, that wonderful, solid, steady majority who lives beyond the paralysis of doubt…how do you manage it? Is it something you might bottle and send over here? I am foundering in the shallows of me. And I am listing to one side, taking on water, with no life vests in sight.