In the past week, I submitted two short stories. Two.
YEAH THAT’S RIGHT. Oh man, I’ve been spending so much time working on the novel (draft one, rewrite plan, summary draft–my word, is it ever going to seem better than crap?) that it’s been quite a while since I got a submission out. AND IT FEELS GREAT! Oh man, how I miss those bittersweet rejections, the tang of a close-but-not-quite, that zesty thrill of turning a story right back around and marching it–the tears still wet on its cheeks!–back out the door to a new market. (Sorry, the metaphors started getting mixed up there, and it’d dinnertime, and whatever.)
I have missed it. So much.
Of course, for the next several months, all I’m expecting to work on is–you guessed it!–the novel DRAFT TWO. First there’s the summary read-through, the timeline map, the scene list, the attempts to wrangle all the problems into some seemingly reasonable solutions, and THEN–THEN! (I’m apparently really into em-dashes today)–onto the actual blood-and-tears drafting of fateful #2 (which will probably be worse than #1, and now I’ve apparently gone maudlin and also swapped em’s for parentheses…)
But I never thought I’d come to crave story rejections so much. I mean, if you’d told me any number of years ago that I would actually be excited to collect a rejection–even a form rejection! I’ll take it!–I would have laughed in your face. (No, I wouldn’t have, that’d be so rude and mean, and I’d be mortified, so instead I would have probably nodded, laughed, smiled awkwardly, and privately rolled my eyes.) But it’s true! Madness, perhaps, brought on by the long hours of novel-work, but still. It’s the proof, though, right? The evidence that you’re trying, you’re putting work out there, and even if it’s not hitting home, it’s still proof that you’re serious about this whole career thing. (Not that spending months writing a novel isn’t proof of seriousness, but it’s a hell of a longer time before you get much feedback–even bad feedback!)
But of course, almost immediately after the rush of submitting, I start checking my email for the response like a madwoman…