The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Winsome losesome

By Craig Terlson

After some publication success with my short stories and flash fiction, I am experiencing some rejection blues. As a new writer, you expect a fair amount of rejection – but whether you expect it or not, it still smarts (to use my mom's term) when you get one of those nasty letters that starts with, "Sorry…"

I just came back from a road trip, one of a couple I've planned this summer, and was pleased to learn that two of my stories had been accepted for publication. As usual, I gave a whoop and did a little happy dance around my studio – it helps if I put on something funky to move to, Creedence is good, Tragically Hip even better. The celebrations include a beer or two, depending on the size of the magazine.

I have come up with the following scale:
Small online mag – One whoop, a pirouette, and a bottle of domestic (Pilsner if I have it, Moosehead if I don't).
Bigger Online Mag – Several whoops, shake my booty, a little of the funky chicken and two bottles of import (Grolsch in the summer, Becks and Pilsner Urquell in the winter)
Print Mag, small circulation – Lots of whooping, twist and shout, line dance with myself and some classic mashed potato, the swim, the pony and a six-pack. (Mix it up, some Corona, Molson Ex, maybe a MGD). If money is involved, there could be wine. Something red, out of a real glass rather than the usual jam jar.
New Yorker – Run up the street naked, scream like a banshee, come back and drink everything in the house (repeat).

This sliding scale works well for me. I haven't worked out one for rejection yet, though it usually involves Scotch.

The next morning after my mini-celebration, I learned my grant application had been turned down, and the agent that had my novel for several months decided to pass. It smarts.

But, it has been smarting less lately. In my day job of drawing pictures (sheesh man, get a real job!), I learned a lot about that rollercoaster of rejection/acceptance. I have learned to celebrate even the smallest victories and not to take the rejections too seriously.
Besides, I don't think my liver could take it.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too funny.

Anne C.

Sun Aug 06, 07:59:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

I like your program! So exactly which drinks did you celebrate with on your return? Do tell...let us celebrate with you!

Sun Aug 06, 01:51:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Ah, yes, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Your style of celebration sounds fun. Thanks for the smile.

Sun Aug 06, 02:10:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I am happy to use your celebration chart from now on. This will give me time to get in shape for my naked run through the streets since my New Yorker acceptance is not exactly pending.

Sun Aug 06, 04:17:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger craig said...

Thanks all! I am really looking forward to catching up on my Collective reading this week.

The celebration was for a short story in the Fall issue of Cezanne's Carrot (Online, I believe) and a magazine out of new Zealand, I can't recall the name - they approached me a while back and asked if they could reprint a couple of my published stories, I'll dig up the name. It is a printed mag - so the dance and the beverage was varied, some hot salsa music, and a few ice cold Grolsch.

Sun Aug 06, 04:55:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

This is funny stuff. Rejection is hard; submissions seems a wee bit harder, though... ;)

And congratulations! Enjoy your dancing and singing and jigging up dust.

Sun Aug 06, 09:41:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

Cezanne's Carrot is beautiful! Congrats Craig!

Sun Aug 06, 11:08:00 pm GMT-4  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Craig,

May I recommend Moose Drool beer for drowning the rejection blues.
Although it still smarts. Seems to be a steady stream for me; rejection, not beer. Hugs

Diane Smith; The Maple Room

Mon Aug 07, 10:15:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

Craig, I get the biggest kicks out of your posts, I can soooo relate to your program, I do the same thing, however, I celebrate when I finish a piece!! regarless of it being accepted!! Thanks Craig and congrats..xoxo

Tue Aug 08, 02:08:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger anita said...


I was googling Cezanne's Carrot beacuse they just accepted my story The Enlightened Robot for their Spring issue and I came across this. So we have something in common! All the best from India.

Anita Saran

Fri Feb 23, 02:58:00 am GMT-5  

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