Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day 256 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis






It's just been one of those days. Found a picture of myself in the local newspaper that was taken at the last meeting of the Ventura County Writer's Club, of which I am a member. Not a bad likeness and the caption had my name spelled correctly (which is no mean feat) and identified me as a "local writer". Thank you very much, I'll take any and all publicity.
Now for the rest of the story. In the snail-mail I received notice from a very prestigious poetry competition that I was not the winner. Nor was I a finalist. This was not unexpected news as I had been informed on-line a couple of months ago. Still, heavy sigh. But competitions are competitions and I'm just perverse enough to refuse to bend to what it looks like they favor. They get me - uncut and unadulterated.
In the e-mail, ah me, more rejection. I sent out a piece of extremely short fiction (as a matter of fact, I'd say it was probably closer to flash) to a small publication in Northern California. Not a lot of input as to why we didn't mesh, but a very nice invitation to try again. Hey, I've been rejected by ghost replies in the past. You may have had one of those. They return your work and you flip through it, dismember the envelope it came in, check all around you on the floor, and BUPKUS! Nothing's there. A pleasant response is really something different and welcome.
So, one in the win column, one in the 'saw it coming' column, and one in the 'too bad, but how civilized of you' column. How long will it take me to recover from this? My reply, "Recover from what?" You should know by now this is not my first prom. As a matter of fact, I've been kicked to the curb enough, that's where I wait for the mail these days.
Seriously? Griping, gnashing of teeth, and general nasty demeanor gets you what? Instead of all that, I continue on with the evening's plans. I sit down and write my blog, which, if you go about it my way, is an exercise in informal essay writing. I have a poetry reading to attend, as a member of the audience - and a new work to share during the open mic portion of the program. I'll begin rewriting a new short story just returned by the Editor-in Wife, and hand her one I completed the first draft of while she was reviewing the former.
This is the writing life, not the sobbing life! Find a way to incorporate the let downs and rejections and turn them into creative energy. Any other course is a waste of your time. If you can't handle rejection, and if you look around you will see plenty of tantrums when the mail arrives, you are probably in the wrong profession.
If you are a stellar talent, there may come a time when it's rare you receive a manuscript back. Then it will more than likely be accompanied by a list of 'suggested changes' and a tentative return date. Until then, get used to this phrase, "Thanks, but no thanks." It will come in any number of forms and wording, but it will all mean the same thing. Live knowing that the whole thing takes time and, if you came down this road expecting big advances and multi-book deals right now, you were just a little unrealistic. The best thing you can do is join the BBBA as soon as you're done reading this. Never heard of them? Well, there are a lot of us, we're the Bitch, Bitch, Bitch Anonymous Group. My name's Dane, glad to meet you.
Meanwhile...SUCK IT UP and live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis

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