I received my first rejection letter this week. It came from this publication. I feel pretty good about it actually because it means that (fanfare please....) I have officially entered the domain of a Real Writer. Real Writers receive rejection letters all the time, right? It's the closet writers who dream big but never send their babies out into the word, who never risk rejection, who never lick the stamp on the SASE that will likely come back to them bearing disappointing news.
I think I'll frame the letter. It's printed on a half-sheet of paper. A form letter. It doesn't even have a real signature at the bottom. I get the impression that they send a million of these out a year. In fact, my tiny letter informs me that this publication's submission to acceptance ratio is 100 to one. This makes me feel slightly better about having ventured a bit of hope, having stuck my neck out only to have it...not cut off exactly...perhaps sliced politely with a few paper cuts. It wasn't as bad as I thought. I'm actually looking forward to coming up with something new to send them again. It only took four months of waiting to get a response. I can do this 3 or 4 times a year for the rest of my life and all it will cost me is a bit of postage. Well, and the obscene amount of hours it took to write the essay. But Real Writers enjoy that part.
The other thing that lets me bask momentarily in a Real Writer glow is the fact that several weeks ago, I received an acceptance letter for one of my essays. It came from this publication. I'm looking forward to a modest little paycheck (will I frame it as well or cash it? Decisions, decisions.) It will be my first opportunity to see my name in print in a real, honest-to-goodness national publication. This is a heady thing. I'll try to keep the swelling to a minimum. Perhaps I'll hang the rejection letter next to the check just to keep myself humble.