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Monday, May 12, 2008

Literary Rejection On Display

I just finished grad school in creative writing, but in my second year I won a fellowship. It was pretty sought-after. Just about everybody in my class applied and I beat them all out, except for the woman who beat me out and got the better fellowship. She got 10 G's and her classes paid for. I just got 10 G's. I'm not relating this to brag, so I hope I don't sound like an asshole. It'll probably be the highlight of my literary career. Anyway, one of my friends who lost told me that a professor of ours said that, in a way, it's better to lose these things because winning can give an unrealistic impression of how difficult the literary life actually is. It is years of being ignored and rejected and if you're lucky, fleeting moments of acceptance and adulation, he told her.

At least, I think that's what my professor said. To tell you the truth, when the woman related me the story, I was only pretending to listen. I mean I was nodding my head and going: "um hmm," but inside I was celebrating my victory.

So, a few weeks ago, I had an interview for another great fellowship/job. The money wasn't much, but I'd have time to write and a place to live that's not my parent's basement--that's all I really care about. I arrived early in my suit--I was shining like new money. I told them of my passion for fiction and my...ummm...passion for teaching kids. I liked everyone I met, except the guy who went crazy when I told him I hadn't seen the Godfather. I figured I could learn to like him as I'm often the same way when I meet a cock-a-roach who hasn't seen Scarface. My interviewers loved the story I submitted to them. They were even praising some of my answers to their questions. I walked away from that interview making plans as to how I'd decorate the apartment they'd provide me once I got the the position.

Then for several weeks...nothing...

On Saturday, I got a letter saying: "You impressed us, but you didn't impress us that much. Buzz off jerk!" I really shouldn't have planned colors for the apartment and making reservations with the movers was way over the line.

I wonder if my fortunes were sunk by the Godfather guy...I think I would have preferred a bloody-horse head in my bed...back to being ignored.

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