Not only does rejection suck in seventh grade, but it sucks in my thirties, I got rejected by an agent for a gift book (The Original Journal). The bright side is I am sending out queries and my proposal for the book. The bad news is I got a rejection email from an agent. Simple and to the point: “Hi Megan. I’m afraid this doesn’t feel like a match for me, but thank you so much for the look, I appreciate it.” The bright side — I worked really hard on the query letter and now I have a finished query letter to send to a whole bunch of other agents. The bad news — I have to most likely go through rejection again.
I have never been a fan of rejection. Who is, really? Anyway, it’s part of the process and this is just part of the process — the sucky part of the process, but I am moving forward.
I host brain tumor patient profiles on my blog on Thursdays. I do not have a brain tumor, but my mother has two. You can read more about this project here. Anyway, reading these stories has given me perspective that the things I complain about are ridiculous. Life is a beautiful thing. And I should be thankful for each second I have. I have a beautiful family and really, that is all that matters. I have my health and I take that for granted, which I am learning not to. I know life is about balance, but the most important thing (for me) is family. I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful son, who fills me with wonder and love (and frustration — he is a toddler after all). I am trying to enjoy the little things more. I was sitting on the front porch at my in-laws house, after our Sunday dinnerl last night, and Ben and I were eating ice cream. Sitting side by side, it was one of those magic moments. Then fifteen minutes later, he was having a meltdown because he couldn’t play “Car.” Such is life.
It’s time to dig deep and write the memoir. I am dragging my feet on this project. But I have the stories and the layers, I just need to start. The first 11 pages are done.
I have a really good writer friend, Debra Elramey, who writes at Pure and Simple, and if I ever preface our conversation with, “This is a really good story.” She’ll say, “Write it down. Don’t waste it.” Then she’ll tell me, “You can tell me the story after you write it.” She always encourages me to write what I know and see in my life. Her encouragement is constant and simple. I think I tend to complicate things to avoid doing them. Example — writing my memoir.
Anyway, it’s time to buckle down. I need to follow Anne Lamott’s advice too — take it Bird by Bird.
Anne signed my journal (The Original Journal project). I was the last person to leave the bookstore. I gave her my journal and told her the three principles of the project:
1. There is a Front Door, rated PG-13
2. There is a Back Door, Not Yet Rated
3. There are no rules.
I left the journal on the table, peering over at her, in admiration and a smidge of stalker writer love. A single brown dread, lose from her pink and white headband, dangled near her shoulder as she wrote, she looked up and the turned to her right towards the book store owner, “Is that everyone? I am bushed. ” She smiled and gave me back the journal. Her signature was simple and accurate:
My friend, Debra, who I mentioned above, called me at 4 pm and said Anne would be reading at 7 pm at Quail Ridge Books. Debra could not make it, but wanted a local writer to represent our small town. I was on it. I was on the phone with my husband to watch our son, and out the door at 6 pm. I stalked a little to get my books signed (Bird by Bird, Operating Instructions, and Imperfect Birds).
I lingered here and I lingered there before the reading, to get closer to Anne. I inched forward, I side-wiggled through crowded rows of knees smooshed up against chairs. But alas, I found my open river current, and jumped in. The flow of the current opened up to a half-moon space where Anne stood. I was four deep in line and I said to the woman in front of me, “I feel like I am stalking Anne.” She replied, “We’re all stalking Anne.” Another cheerful Anne Lamott fan, saw my camera and exclaimed, “Do you want me to take your picture with Anne?” I was like, “Yes, please.!” Then we giggled and chatted about our excitement.
This is a photo of Anne and me at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, as well as, our happy Anne Lamott stalking crew. The other photo, I think I freaked Anne out because I told her I was going to put my arm around her.
This video is of Ira Glass speaking directly to you. Speaking directly to me. Speaking to all artists and creatives! Great inspiration. I have also included the quote below from the first half of this video.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
― Ira Glass
This is a good way to end the Monday Museletter. Enjoy your week.
Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.