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Lonesome, and at the Bottom

I’ve never been at the top of anything so I really can’t relate to the saying,

“It’s lonely at the top.”

Well, that’s not entirely true. I was at the top of the Empire State Building once and it was anything but lonely. All those pushy tourists elbowing their way for look over the edge. Closter phobic and disappointing, that’s what the top was like for me.

Why so melancholy? I received two rejections this week. Actually, four to be exact. Two letters, each rejecting both my books.

The first one came from a publisher. It was the basic rejection thanking me for submitting, apologizing for responding with a form letter, blah, blah, blah. The letter went on to explain that they receive six thousand queries and only publish twelve books a year so they have to choose books they feel “passionate” about. Then, they tried to cushion the blow by saying that they “regretfully” must pass over many “fine manuscripts.” Unfortunately, they failed to mention whether or not mine was one they regretted passing over. I would much rather have them say simply . . .

“We read your cover letter and since you’ve never been published we didn’t bother looking at the rest.” Or, “We read it, we hated it.”

At least then I would know.

The second rejection came from a contest. And although I hadn’t expected to win (I had hurried my manuscripts and they were fraught with typos), the little glimmer of hope that had smoldered more acerbic with each day I waited, had at last risen up to squelch my dreams when the dreaded SASE sat atop my mail in the box this afternoon. (Run-on sentence, I know)

I think the hardest part about being rejected is that there is no one to talk to about how it feels. If I turn to a loved one, he/she will probably just try to be encouraging . . .

“You just have to keep trying. Someday, someone will accept your work.”

Maybe they’ll feel sorry for me . . .

“Bless your heart, you must be so disappointed.”

Or worse, get annoyed, and refuse to comment all together, offering only that, what-did-you-expect, look. (I’m sure living with an unpublished author is just as frustrating as being unpublished—maybe even more)

But, I don’t want to be encouraged, pitied or ignored. I want to be PUBLISHED! And to make matters worse, I really can’t speculate as to what the appropriate response would be.

And so it’s lonely at the bottom as well.

Lonely, and frustrating.