Reject in the House!

Ever since I was a little girl I have always dreamed of becoming a writer someday.  While my sister and cousins were outside playing at my grandparents’ house, I was busy stapling paper together and writing my own stories.  But I would always inevitably trash my stories because I just knew they had to be complete garbage.   I carried words around that always sounded so perfect in my mind.  Once I put pen to paper, however, I would condemn my words and ball up the monstrosity and curse myself, even at ten, for writing something so very stupid.

I would dream of publishing a book by the age of 12.  I would be on the “Today Show” and “Good Morning America” because I wrote a book that, in my mind, probably rivaled “Harry Potter,” and Joan Lunden would say, “And look, she’s only 12!”  But I continued to destroy every attempt at writing anything.  And let’s be honest, it was more along the lines of “Sweet Valley High” or “The Babysitters Club.”

By the time I was in high school I was selected as the Op/Ed editor for my school newspaper.  I begged my journalism teacher for my own column.  She acquiesced and from there “Iridescent Hues” was born.  I’m not really sure where the name came from.  I didn’t even know what “iridescent” meant, but I thought it sounded cool.  Once I found the definition, I thought, “Exactly what I was going for!”

I loved writing my column.  I took on many topics, including teen pregnancy, abortion, drugs, body piercing (which seemed relatively new in 1994).  My senior year I wrote a letter to the editor of my local newspaper which was published and got me into a lot of trouble at school.  But that’s another story entirely.

After high school, I dove head first into court reporting school.  I was immersed with learning my craft, the skill that would eventually pay my bills.  I was also working part time after school in a grocery store.  The only thing I was writing back then were love letters.

Life went on, but I continued to dream of one day becoming a writer.  I expressed my dream a few times and was shut down by people who probably meant well who said, “Writers write every day.  You don’t.”

Touche.  And I took that to heart.  I didn’t write every day.  I couldn’t write every day.  So I didn’t.  For a long time.  Oh, yes, I can write a great email.  If you ever want to write a scathing letter to someone who pissed you off, I’m your girl.  And for this girl who lives inside her head and has a hard time expressing herself when talking to someone, writing is the ultimate outlet.  I may not know how to tell you how I feel to your face, but I will tell you later with my written words.

This very blog was born two and a half years ago as a way for me to feed my love for writing.  I have neglected it.  I haven’t consistently written.  I have started and scrapped far more posts than I have published.  I have actually considered taking the blog down and starting over.  I restrained myself.  I write for myself.  Taking it down would invalidate my thoughts at the time I wrote them.

You may be wondering why I’m writing about writing. Well, last night I received my very first rejection letter as a writer.

A few weeks ago I was told by a friend about an ad in my newspaper asking for readers to submit two personal essays for a chance to become a reader columnist for the paper.  I have wanted to try out for this for a couple of years, so I felt lucky to have the chance.  I wrote two 500-word pieces, grounded in personal observation and experience as requested.  I sat on submitting them for two weeks after I wrote them.  I changed things up and read and re-read them constantly, trying to read them as if I weren’t the author.  My inside voice was telling me how much they stunk, but I know that she is always out to get me so I ignored her. Plus I didn’t have time to write anything else.  I clicked send on the email and immediately bit my lip in worry.  I have now put myself out there.  Someone is actually going to read this garbage.  What did I do?

I received a response the next day letting me know that they had received my submission, they would read them and get back to me within a couple weeks.  I was forewarned that the competition is very stiff and even very good writers are not chosen.  And then I worried some more.  He said he was going to read them.  Oh my god.

It wasn’t even three days later that I received another response from him telling me how much I suck.  No, I’m kidding.  He was very diplomatic.  But I read straight through all of that diplomacy.

I’m afraid this is one of those dreaded rejection notes. We appreciated your interest in being one of our guest columnists; unfortunately, we have to make choices, and this sometimes involves passing up lively writers like you.
I’m sorry.
When I first read this, I thought, “Well, what did I expect?  He told me the competition was fierce.”  But then that pesky inner voice started in on me.  “God, you suck.  What were you thinking submitting that crap?  I wonder if ‘lively’ is code for ‘sucky.'”
I ate some feelings after reading that.  I really need to stop doing that.
I woke this morning with a different perspective.  An entire different voice began a dialogue.  I don’t have multiple personality disorder, I promise.  This other voice said, “Kellie, you are too much for that newspaper.  You are sarcastic, witty.  Haven’t you read some of those columns they DO publish?  Booooooorrrrring.  You said so yourself.  You couldn’t even finish one.  Your ADD went into overdrive.  Most of their readers wouldn’t know how to deal with what you have to say.  It’s not the right forum for you.”
I love the voice so much better than the one who constantly wants to tell me how much I suck at the thing I love to do more than anything in the world.  My goal is to someday be able to shut her up completely.
I feel like a bona fide writer now.  I was rejected.  This evening I am wearing my rejection letter like a proud badge of honor.  I only received it because I put myself out there.

2 thoughts on “Reject in the House!

  1. Love that you put yourself out there, Kells! I admire your courage and also admire how you lead by example. You help me remind myself what it means, “You never know until you try.” It does feel good to take that leap of faith. I can’t wait to read your next entry. Love, Jess

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