Thursday, March 16, 2017

Good enough to dream

Rejection is fairly commonplace, I think. I was told that I could only expect a single interview out of twenty submitted applications. I don't know the numbers for post graduate, but several of my emails in reply had the phrase "we receive hundreds of applications every year," as some sort of explanation. Romance is romance. People look for "the one," and singling up is implied in monogamy, but that's a needle in quite the haystack. It's interesting because other words I hear as often as I hear the word no begin to lose meaning as I drift down into the rabbit hole of what words mean, the why of letters, and the bedrock of language concept.

For artistic types. rejection is even more apart of their existence. I've seen hours of interviews concerning successful creative professionals and their childhoods, their formative years, and the pre-fame portions of their careers and how most people they encountered had no conception of what it would be to become an actor, or a dancer. Musician, sculptor, writer. It wasn't just rejection though, it was denial. It wasn't a no. It was a never. One of the interviewees said that "people had such trouble because they lacked imagination. Because that's our job, as artists, to make something where there previously existed nothing, and it's a difficult thing to conceive." In the midst of all of mine, I really thought that I had maintained an optimistic stance. I didn't stop writing after all. I didn't stop striving.

But then I got an email.

"Dear Mr. Cammon,

Thank you for giving [us] the opportunity to consider [your work]..."

And then my brain shut off. I thought to myself, well here is yet another rejection letter I can use to pad my couch cushions. Print it out, put it on a wall. Burn it. Part of my brain kept reading, but mostly I had checked out, walked into the kitchen, and began rummaging for breakfast.

"We've looked at your manuscript sample carefully and find the premise interesting enough that we'd like to request the full manuscript."

I looked at glass of juice as if to confirm what I had just read. The bright liquid swayed against the curve, the shaking of a bubbly head.

It wasn't a no. It was a maybe, so worth celebrating to some degree, but what had struck me most immediately was that I had already assumed it was a no. I stepped backwards in time to imagine when this had happened, this change. When, during my darting fingers across my keyboard a literal million times. I was disappointed in myself, and that spun into maybe thinking it had taken this long even to garner this half-yes because of my attitude about  my own chances. Loved ones had suggested I maybe try something else, stopped mentioning things at all when I had quietly avoided their counsel. Had part of me sided with them?

They want me to go back through, before I send the entire thing, and address some "malapropisms."

I have not moved an inch since.

There was a non fiction wonder I started and never finished, about the owner of a minor league baseball team in upstate New York. It was a lovable cast of characters, individuals wedged within the reality of being better at the sport than the average person, but were still not good enough to make a living from their efforts. I found commonalities between the characters and myself, of course. Maybe that's why I didn't finish it. Maybe, I wanted to write my own ending. I found the title very fitting, and memorable. But thinking back on it now, just because a person is good enough to dream, does not mean that they necessarily will.