I have sent out three stories to thirty-three literary journals. So far I’ve received fourteen rejections, three of which have urged me to submit again (citing that I was not sent their “usual” rejection slip).
Last night, I received two of those fourteen rejection slips, after a long and exhausting day at work. I came home past dinnertime, already gritting my teeth when I recognized my handwriting on the two self-addressed stamped envelopes I’d included with my submissions. Ugh. I just ripped them open, knowing what was inside. Yup. A rejection. Okay. Yup. Another rejection.
I pinned them on my bulletin board, where I am, for my own reasons, keeping my rejection slips. It makes me feel like I’ve at least sent my work out.
I’ve made sure to pin up copies of past acceptances to writing residencies and litmags next to those rejections to stop me from dipping into the dark ocean, of course.
Then last night, my subconscious reached out to me.
In my dream last night, someone knocked on our door, of course arousing our dogs in a chorus of barks. I was still tired from work, my lips pressed into a thin line. Who could it be–we, and our dogs, wondered. It was a delivery person (my dream did not specify whether it was FedEx, UPS, or DHL).
My husband came in and handed me an envelope, “Good news!”
It was a package envelope–not one I’d sent. With a mailing sticker on it, from a good litmag that I hadn’t even submitted my work to, in real life. I guess in my dream, I had submitted my short story to them.
I opened the envelope and inside was a short story of mine–jsut two random pages of it, but there was critique all over it, in a large and confident scrawl of handwriting. Expand on this, change that, etc., etc.
And there was a handwritten note saying to please make the edits and re-submit. It was a note of encouragement. My subconscious, I guess, is telling me that I’m getting closer. Keep it up.