Thursday, November 16, 2006

Kim Addonizio on Rejection

From Kim Addonizio's blog, (March 23, 2006)

Rejection letters—Get used to them. “Butch it up, Kim,” said my writer friend Lisa Glatt, once when I was whining to her on the phone. If you don’t want to be rejected, don’t send out.

Better odds of acceptance: work seriously for 7-10 years first before sending.

The logic: just because it’s rejected doesn’t mean it’s bad. Just because it’s published doesn’t mean it’s any good.

And: The work is more important than the publication, but you may not really understand that until you are published.

Also: it is actually very easy to get published. Somewhere. By someone. Once that happens, it will not be enough. You will want to be published somewhere else, somewhere better. Then you will want books, then awards for the books, then big grants and fellowships and endowed chairs, and then eternal youth. The desire to publish is usually composed of a dash of desire to give one’s gifts, like vermouth in a double martini. The drink itself is ego and insecurity. I call this the Pinocchio Syndrome: Publish me! I’m only a wooden puppet writer! Make me a real writer!

The work is more important.

If you achieve success in publication, further rejections are inevitable. Some of them are: Reductive, misguided readings of your work, sometimes by the people who admire it most. My favorite of these is “Bukowski in a sundress,” an enthusiastic (?) comment offered by the judges of the National Book Critics Circle Award one year.

Condescending reviews by sexist, retromingent Visigoths (I stole this phrase from another writer, I forget who, but it has come in handy many times, and you can see that retromingent is a versatile word for anyone's poetic lexicon), if you are a woman. Some male reviewers are like those boys in high school, who tell everyone you’re a slut and then, when they catch you alone on the hall stairs after classes, push you against the wall and try to stick their hand down your pants.

Being envied. Some people will despise you for doing well, or for their perception of your greater luck. This is called projection. They will make you a god, and then they will try to crucify you.

Another rejection: Being ignored. No one listening. You can see what a blessing this could be.

(c) Kim Addonizio 2006


iGwatala said...

She has made a lot of point in here. Nice article. I recommend it for everyone.

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