Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lessons I Didn't Learn*

I've been doing some housecleaning and re-filing and I came across a file that I think most, if not all writers, have tucked away somewhere. It's my file of rejection letters, stretching back ten years. It's been buried in storage for a while, so I haven't looked in it for some time. It was an interesting experience, reading through it again. I noticed some things that I'd completely forgotten about. Like it's not rejection letters. There are two letters naming me as a finalist or a semi-finalist for awards. Not the most prestigious of things, but nice, nonetheless. And many of the other letters end with requests for more work down the line. Of course, I never followed up on most of those requests. I tucked the letters away and moved on.

I'm in a very different place now than I was when I got those letters, and I might behave differently now. But would I? And why did I behave the way I did? I chalk that up to what I like to call fungus on my shower shoes. That's what I call the quirky, self-destructive, immature things that we all do to undermine ourselves. Call it insecurity, call it neuroses. But it's part of this business.

The good side is that some of the people in those letters have re-surfaced, some never really went away. Some, of course, are long gone. But maybe I've learned a little something.

*I was part way through this post and accidentally navigated away from the page, so that draft was lost to the ether. But this one is pretty good.

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