Tonight I received the latest rejection.
It was a solid rejection letter--a keeper:
"Dear Julie Steele:
Thank you for sending your work to Narrative. We are always grateful for the opportunity to review new work, and we have given [your piece] close attention and careful consideration. We regret, however, that [it] does not meet our needs at this time. We hope that you will keep us in mind in the future.
I keep scanning my head, heart, and body for sensations. Do I need to cry? Do I feel disappointment? Am I discouraged?
the strangest thing. I am none of these things. Sure, I'm bummed that
I'm out of the running for the $4,000 prize, but...that's not why I
submitted it. I threw my work into the ring because it's a solid example
of showing up, butt in chair, and doing the work. I feel relief that I don't have to wonder about this submission anymore.
It's the best thing I've written to date, but because of that, I know I've already won. There's more living and writing to do.
I have a lot of story ideas swirling this week--THAT's what has me feeling a little woozy. So today at lunch, I walked to my favorite nearby cozy, shady park, sat down on the grass, and worked on a messy first draft of a story idea that has captured my heart and imagination.
Another activity that helps ground me is to go through something old, decide what I need or can let go of and organize it. Tonight, I came home from work and went straight to the piles of papers documenting my writing life.
These projects always get messier before they get ordered. Photo evidence #1:
As I made my way through the "early work" (the college years are ESPECIALLY cringe-worthy given my broken heart at the time), I found this gem from 1985, photo evidence #2:
In the FIFTH GRADE, I wrote: "...I'll be out of college and be a writer or editor."
Well, dang. More proof that Tammy was right. This writing seed has long been planted in me. I feel grateful every time I am reminded of it. It helps me stay the course. To remember that I'm writing because it's what brings me joy. It has the potential to encourage and help other people. These are the reasons I write toward rejection 9...152...300.
My writer's statement is:
"To feast on words, explore their power and serve up writings which inspire and encourage my readers and myself."