And it’s a “No”

How fortuitous to be watching the Ladies Short Program figure skating last night before and after I opened a polite rejection email from a literary agent! (“Ladies” short program — really? What do they think it is — 1962?)

But there the athletes are — in their bejeweled leotards, the opening bars of music swelling, years (and years!) of practice and competition behind them as they take a breath and GO!

The routine starts well enough. They seem to have the requisite speed for the triple axel, but then something happens — a failure of nerve, insufficient rotation — and boom! – down they go! It’s shocking and disappointing every time.

But what’s really remarkable — and it impresses me EVERY TIME — is how these professionals get right back up. They get right back up and finish their routine — a program with more jumps, no less.

So I got dinged. Not only that, but it was boiler plate without a whiff of feedback. I knew engagement was a long shot, but I’ll admit to expecting a little more substance in the response.

Not a fair expectation, mind. She’s entitled to the convenience of being blandly polite. Literary agents have to write a lot of these emails, after all.

Disappointment reigned for the evening. Slowed my snacking for a bit. But I tell you — watching those skaters get up and finish their routines after a catastrophic tumble filled me with new appreciation.

And guess what? Nothing’s really changed. I’m still researching points of interest — (Charlotte Bull’s date of birth and when she married John Drayton; the plot lines of the play mounted at the Queen Street theatre in 1737), still writing new passages and revising old ones. In other words — making slow but discernible progress.

So! Onward and upward! It’s back to winter here. Hail earlier. Snow predicted for later.

17 thoughts on “And it’s a “No”

  1. Nancy

    Good for you for getting right back to that triple axel!! I’m not sure I’d have that kind of umph! And I know for sure it would impact my snacking a lot longer than that…no slowing down for me…just the opposite! xo

    1. deemallon

      Our hail turned into a light snow. The main thing: it’s cold again.

      I read Grace’s post and though the problems she describes are thick and complicated, I have to say, on some level my response is: Oh Yeah! She’s describing her life to us again!!

  2. Liz A

    How many times Madeline L’Engle heard “no” before Wrinkle in Time was published (need to re-read that) … it takes guts to get up and keep on going. And you are one gutsy person (“ladies”? seriously?)

    1. deemallon

      I was serious when I said in an earlier post that getting rejected is a (big) part of the process and in that way, I truly feel like a member of the club now. It’s daunting to think about not only revising the second half of the book and filling in the years 1742 and 1743 without having to also think about query letters and researching agencies — but there you have it!

  3. Tina Zaffiro

    Very much like what Marti wrote … sounds like you have already turned that No around. Lucky you having a writing class filled with love and support. You got this Dee.

    1. deemallon

      Thanks, Tina and yes yes yes — the power of an invested, smart, literary, caring circle of writers is astonishing.

  4. RainSluice

    well, godammit. don’t they see well? did they truly read it? arggghuh.huh! shit.
    and onto your triple corkscrew double split “butter my butt and call me a biscuit” inverted back flip from 30 feet and you land it, yaaaaaaah!

  5. saskia

    am very late responding to this disappointing news, and knowing that you are already back on your feet and moving foreward…..I symbolically add my 2 cents commiseration for what it’s worth;
    one day (sooner rather than later) your book will be published, read and enjoyed!


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