June 17, 2013. READ ON! This is the first post on my blog and I plan to focus on the writing world as I see it. I thought this was the perfect cartoon to depict what I and other writers must feel in a world where rejection is the status quo. For forty years I worked as a psychologist (click on my home page for brief bio) and people came to me voluntarily with problems that I sought to fix. I think I was pretty successful in doing so, consequently felt wanted and needed. Confident. Important even. I strode forth in the world with head high, a person of consequence.
Forty years passed and psychology ran its course. I decided to find something else to occupy my time. There are three phases of life, I think: your youth, which you try to survive, your adulthood, which you try to make successful, and your “golden years,” namely old age, which you try to make comfortable. Writing seemed a nice choice. I could do it at my leisure: I had control over what I said and could be creative. Yes, Henry, that’s a nice idea. You can write. It’ll be fun.
Suddenly I went from being needed to not being needed at all. NOT EVEN APPRECIATED!! (I like capitals.) I wrote fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and got rejection slips. Ah, the good old rejection slip. Most of us have gotten those, haven’t we? But, I ask you, who out there has received 132 of them over a ten-month period? I read an editor’s instructions once in a literary journal in which he stated if the writer is submitting something that has been rejected five or six times already, don’t bother to send it to them because said piece is obviously of inferior quality.
GIVE ME A BREAK!! Some of the best literature I’ve ever published (if I’ve ever published any good literature) was rejected thirty times or more (please scan my list of publications). Nonetheless, being rejected 132 consecutive times in ten months will certainly make you question your choice of avocations in your waning years (even if you’re not waning).
Brief pause for a joke (I can do this, it’s my blog): Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, and fall asleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes his faithful friend.
– Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.
Watson replies, – I see millions of stars.
– What does that tell you?
Watson ponders for a minute.
– Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Timewise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?
Holmes is silent for a moment, then speaks.
– Watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent!
A joke having nothing to do with my presentation, but a nice interlude.
So, there is a point to all this, and I will be brief (I hear a collective sigh of relief from the reading public already): it seems to me that when you are famous or at least relatively well-known, people will publish just about any crap you write. If you are not famous (as opposed to imfamous) or relatively unknown, you could be writing masterpieces and they would be rejected with form letters. To illustrate this point, if not prove it, I will tell you a Jerzy Kosinski story in a future blog entry. I have many of these from the literary world.
So, this is it for the first blog. Those of you who wish to comment are invited to my email page, and I would be most happy to hear from you, and most likely will respond (though, no promises). Any ideas from you on future subjects for me to address, please let me know. I’m planning to add a blog entry each Sunday, if the hogs don’t eat me first.
I’ll try to be humorous and profound. Well, at least humorous.