Monday, July 14, 2014

Writing contests and rejection slips

An online writing contest came in a blog post from a well-respected non-fiction journal. Usually I don't bother to enter, and not for fear of rejection either. Each takes time from other projects on my calendar deadline list, and I don't need the distraction. However, this one had a perfectly simple title, "That Summer," and I already had a couple short essays that could be ripped apart and pasted back together into a lovely memory worth sharing. Why not?

I remember hearing the late Frank McCourt speak and tell how as a teacher in New York City, he would paste all his rejection slips on the bulletin board reminding his students that writing is hard work. Nothing comes easily, and after years and years of denial, McCourt's book, Angela's Ashes, was published and rose to the number one spot on the bestseller list for weeks on end.

Humble as he was in character, McCourt's classroom lesson stuck with me vividly. My rejection slips go in a folder after letting go any negative feelings about my abilities. The magazine and Kay are not a good match at this time is how I rationalize it.  McCourt felt similar with the stories he had to tell. Somewhere, someone will listen, and connect to his thoughts.

Then too, I have a superstition about allowing others in on what I am sending off to publications like it will jinx my good fortune.

My story is almost ready, and with a tweak here and there, tomorrow I will push the "send" button releasing it out into the world for others to make of it what they must. The prize would be wonderful; it's freeing to make the effort nonetheless.