The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Monday, December 24, 2007

Wrapping things up

By Tamara Lee

A couple days ago, five days before Christmas, I received a rejection form letter. I’d been uncharacteristically confident the publication would accept one of my stories; I’d even spent some extra bucks to send the stories by courier post.

So tonight as I wrapped presents and watched The Grinch, nursing some guilt over the embossed red Christmas paper I’d splurged on, I wondered whether that editor had considered the timing of her rejection when she was sealing her letter.

One of the final acts of the year—the ceremony of sealing, adorning, and proffering a token of affection—is essentially about wrapping presents and affecting someone else’s future in some small way.

When I worked retail, I resisted the complimentary gift-wrapping part of the job. I was always a bit suspicious of folks who don't wrap their loved ones' gifts, and my awkward tucks and tape-jobs weren’t a hit with the customers anyway. But wrapping has since become one of my favourite rituals of the season.

An editor who sends out rejection letters at Christmastime is most likely just settling up affairs before the New Year. There’s no deliberate Grinchiness, I'm sure. There's never a right time to get one, anyway.

Besides, I’m by no means in a funk about the rejection; in fact, I’m even a bit relieved. After waiting six months to hear back, I was beginning to feel as though my stories were being held ransom. Of course, six months isn’t an exceptionally long time for editors to hold a story; writers everywhere have endured much longer away-times, but this felt different.

As much as I figured that the stories were ready to go when they did—I’d carefully re-worked and prepared the five pieces for four different publication categories, researched the editor and the book project thoroughly—I’ve been anxious to revisit them, to touch them up a bit, to send them elsewhere.

This year’s been so full of change for me it feels like a different person subbed those stories all those months ago.

Now, at the risk of sounding like a namby-pamby new-ager, I’m thinking of the rejection as a gift, a second chance. And I’m looking forward to seeking the right home for those puppies.

So, with the letter nearly out of my mind, the presents all bought and wrapped, the bags nearly packed for my long weekend away, and the to-do list sporting more crossed-off than starred, it’s beginning to look and feel a lot more like Christmas.

Best of the season to you all.


Blogger Chumplet said...

Hooray for you! We're all changing and growing as writers, and our little babies can grow and change for the better. They'll eventually find the home that's meant for them.

Have a happy and peaceful Christmas. I'm off to bake some cookies.

Mon Dec 24, 12:03:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Everything benefits from a little extra ageing.

Mon Dec 24, 12:36:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger T. Lee said...

Thanks, Chumplet. Enjoy the cookies. And Steve, my ageing skin is proof that you're not entirely correct, but I otherwise agree ;)

Mon Dec 24, 02:30:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I'm terrible at wrapping, but I enjoy the feeling it gives of caring. However, when a store offers it for free, I'm right there in line. We don't do Christmas gifts anymore, so I have to get my wrapping kicks with birthdays.

Sounds like you've got a healthy attitude about your rejection. The way I figure when that happens to me is it just wasn't the right place for the story.

Have a very merry tomorrow, Tamara.

Mon Dec 24, 04:47:00 pm GMT-5  

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