Monday, June 11, 2007

A closer look at rejection

Well, it’s been a Monday. A non-cooperative printer this morning. Small mountain of paperwork to dig through. Then, accidentally jammed an electric stapler and had to take a screwdriver to it to get it to work again.

And waiting for me in the mail was The Letter from the local exhibition I entered:

Dear Ms. M:

Thank you so much for entering works for consideration for The Show. Unfortunately, your work was not selected for inclusion in this year’s exhibition. But please join us for the opening reception, where the juror for this year’s show will give a brief talk about the difficulty of choosing which pieces to exhibit because of the many quality works that were submitted. A catalogue of the exhibition will also be available for a reasonable fee. We hope to see you there.


At least they replied. Many of the agents I’ve tried for my novel never reply at all: If you haven’t received a reply in four weeks you may assume we are not interested in your proposal.

Receiving a rejection letter quickly snuffs out the lingering hope you had for that particular submission, whereas to never receive a reply is a drawn-out process where the candle burns lower and lower until it finally sputters and goes out.

Ah, but rejection is a way of life for artists. We can gauge the level of rejection: Low level = a chocolate bar and a glass of wine; medium level = half a cheesecake and four martinis; high level = entire gallon of double fudge Haagen-Dazs, a bottle of tequila, and a $1,000 impulse shopping trip (online or at the mall).

In the big scheme of things, this particular rejection was at the "chocolate bar and wine" level. And I can be philosophical, and pledge to submit my work in other venues (this works best after a glass of wine).

And in the greater world, it’s been a sunny, clear June day. No severe storms were reported. Hawaiians can now order Spam and eggs for breakfast from Burger King.
And in the bloggosphere, we can put our creative work out there; we can always be an exhibitor in "the biggest show on earth."


I think all great innovations are built on rejections.
--Louise Nevelson


Anonymous said...

Are all rejections equal in weight? Is part of forging an art knowing which rejections to take seriously as necessary steps on the ladder of evolving your art, vs. which are not worth a moment of attention. Wouldn't this be true as well of acceptance? Can any creativity ultimately ever be destroyed by a million rejections? Rejection is NEVER universal for anyone. It is a matter of who counts and why. Monk's "Keep on knockin'. Somebody is bound to answer"

Anonymous said...

chocolate and wine sounds like a reason for celebration. always finding the positive in the negative. not rejection, merely rebuffed during this round.

attending the reception would feel like the second place finisher at the tennis championship; somehow lifting the silver plate seems to weigh more than the gold trophy...
pride and perseverence taste so much sweeter when the goal is finally attained.