Happy No Year

Here we are in the twilight of 2015. I am fighting the temptation to count up just how many rejections I received — from lit mags for individual poems, for videopoems, from contests for poems or the manuscript for my second collection, from publishers for the manuscript, rejections of panels for conferences, an absence of “tags” to post my poems when that craze had captured Facebook, no to reading offers, no to workshop offers. I know it was a lot. Up until now. In all of this year I have only received one acceptance for my poetry. Fortunately, it was one of the most important acceptances of all — my second collection of poems for publication. It’s hard to make sense of this, actually. Especially since my acceptance came from the same entity that published my first book.  In the face of all this rejection, it seems like no one has any interest in my work but this one organization. What if they’re wrong? But of course, that way lies madness. It’s foolhardy to think a rejection from a lit mag means a rejection of the work in general — or even in specific. Rejection happens for all kinds of reasons, I imagine — from a grumpy reader, to a full roster, to the poems not fitting in some category that an editor was looking for specifically, to just chance. Still. Self-doubt lurks. It does more than lurk. I can see its furry and clawed toes sticking out from beneath the closet door. In the summer we go to a beach my friend calls “The Beach of No.” The list of things you’re not allowed to do at that beach stretches almost as long as the lifeguard chair is high — no running, no throwing footballs, no frisbee, no snorkeling masks, no playing that game where people get on each other’s shoulders and try to push the other person off, no swimming near the boat put-in, no etcetera. Here as light fades on 2015, I feel myself on the shifting sand of The Beach of No, the tide sifting my footing away, but I’m hanging on. I’m hanging on to Yes.

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3 thoughts on “Happy No Year

  1. Yes. Is it possible that you are trying to hard in your writing? Or that you are just sending it to the wrong people? It DOES seem odd. Maybe there is a God after all and she’s really testing you to see if you’re writing for the right reasons….

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