I stood at my mailbox, sweating my ass off after getting back from a walk when I saw it. I know my handwriting anywhere. It had come. My last rejection letter; one I’d waited 9 long months for. I sighed and ripped it open. What I noticed first was the size of the paper inside. It was a full piece, not a half or a fourth, but one regular-sized 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, folded into thirds. For the briefest moment, I thought it could mean good news, that my journey for this story had finally reached the end, and the end I’ve been dreaming about for years – literally – but then I read the first line. My heart sank. I wanted to cry. I thought about it for a second. My son wouldn’t know why I was and he wouldn’t care. He cries all the time for less. But there can be no crying over rejection letters, so I sucked it up and kept reading. And what I read next really did make me want to cry and I would be lying if some liquid didn’t bubble in my eye duct.
I’m not sure how close I actually was to being chosen, but I was close enough that it mattered – enough so that they took the time to personally respond to me – to let me know that they liked what they saw, what ultimately held them back and to wish me well. And that means a lot to me. Because so often I only get the “Thanks but no thanks, good luck with your life.” letters.
To self-publish or to keep trying? That is the question and one I’m not sure how to answer.
Rejection Letter #63 – The Massachusetts Review