I wrote it blue.
And they wanted it written red. Not, they admit, that red is better than blue but it is different and they know themselves well enough to know that red they are and red they must be.
I had thought about taking a big swing at writer’s groups this week. This would be completely unfair to writer’s groups everywhere since I’ve never been in one. I base all my material on the two groups that I’ve visited, plus conjecture (your word of the week), hearsay and a big fat dose of my own prejudice. But I think that we’ll leave that for next week given yesterday’s events. Today I feel like talking about rejection.
Okay, so I don’t really feel like talking about it, but I will anyway. The one benefit of a Catholic upbringing is that after someone has poked us with a sharp stick, we have no problem at all picking up that sharp stick and poking ourselves, repeatedly, in the same spot. Whether it is because the pain reminds us of our heavenly reward some day in the far future after much enduring of being poked at, or, we’re just so used to the pain we feel too weird when it stops.
So the inciting incident, as it were, for this blog post was a very nicely worded rejection email from a broadcaster who had been considering a piece of my work for series development. And seriously, nicest “no” ever, mild enthusiasm for the content, described as “interesting concept” and my favourite three words in all the universe “very well written”. Hmmm. Kind of sad really that I just typed that sentence instead of “I love you”. Maybe because I’m lucky enough to hear “I love you.” all the time and a writer can never hear “very well written” enough.
“Very well written” from someone who reads for a living to someone who writes for a living is a cup of sweet water poured upon the dry sands of self esteem. Immediately sucked from view as if it had never been, but let’s hope someday soon enough cups will have been poured out upon the sands to trigger an explosion of green growth and bright flowers. Jeepers. I really do need to roll up my sleeves and clean out my Metaphor Closet. And it is just that kind of tangent that gets me into trouble at book club and in project meetings.
But at least it’s well written.
I also got a not-quite-invitation, but definitely a sort of implied-kinda-invitation that almost, if you turn it sidewise, hints that they’d be interested in considering reading other future projects that I might bring their way that would be a better fit for their demographic. I could share the sentence from the email that makes me think that but I’m afraid one of you will debunk my Pollyanna view with razor sharp logic and then I’d have to go all the way to the Feeling Crappy Basement instead of standing on the top step with a firm grip on the handrail and face pointed toward the sunlight.
In telling you that rejection is part of an artist’s life I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. I’m pretty sure that I’m not even giving you any real advice on how to overcome it. Except maybe suggesting you distract yourself by going to play around in your own Metaphor Closet. How you deal with your rejection is up to you but I advise finding methods that are easy on your liver and your relationships. You’ll have to deal with rejection again soon enough, as will I, so let’s pace ourselves people.
Besides, I could run into someone tomorrow who is looking for Blue, and hey, I’ve got a great Blue project right here ready to go. And I’ll forgive the Red people their redness, easier than you might think because I have not one but two Red projects on the back burner.
So whenever and however the hell and high-water of rejection sweep you up, keep writing, and keep writing in colour.