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When I started writing in 2007, the very first piece I submitted was accepted to an anthology with a call for submissions for illness-themed pieces. Not only was it accepted, but at the writing center where I took the memoir class in which I crafted the piece, two of the instructors had their essays accepted as well. So, the writing center decided to hold a reading. It was a snowy February night and I pictured an empty room, but people kept pouring in until all the seats were filled. After I read about my anorexia, I was surrounded by women from the audience wanting to tell me about their own eating disorders or that of their children.
Then the rejections started coming. They weren’t all rejections. Just the majority. I accepted the rejections as a way to build a thicker skin. I’d always been told I was too sensitive, that my tears came too easily, that I cowered in the face of confrontation.
Fifteen years later, my skin is as thick as an elephant’s hide. Until this year, when it cracked.
I wrote a piece titled “Measuring Sanity.” Some of my friends read it and gave it rave reviews. Not just because they’re my friends. These are people I trust to be honest with me about my writing. I submitted my “Measuring Sanity” to a respected literary journal where the theme is illness and healing (not the same one as in 2007). The piece got rejected, but the editors of this particular journal have a practice where if the vote was close, they extend the courtesy of providing the notes made by their editorial board about it, once they finish their production. They also invited me to resubmit the piece if I wanted to revise it based on the editorial board’s notes.
It’s a long wait as they only publish twice a year — in the Spring and the Fall. I worked diligently on revising “Measuring Sanity.” I didn’t revise it blindly, taking all their suggestions. I took what I thought made sense and revised it according to my own style and creative inner voice.
I resubmitted it about a month ago. Yesterday “Measuring Sanity” was rejected again and I got an identical e-mail, extending me the courtesy of providing the notes made by their editorial board about it, once they finish their production.
It wouldn’t be so frustrating, but this is one of those one-hit-wonder cases as the very first piece I submitted to them in 2015, titled “Eight Months After a Suicide Attempt,” was accepted and I haven’t been able to crack the code since.
I haven’t made up my mind if I’m going to revise and resubmit “Measuring Sanity” yet a third time. Part of it depends on what the notes say. I might try submitting it elsewhere and see what happens.
Typically I can take the rejection of my work in stride. The rejections of this one piece are getting to me. I’m taking them personally and I’m starting to feel as though I can’t get this right, regardless of how hard I try. And it doesn’t feel good. If I don’t try again, I’ll feel as though I’m giving up, but if I do try again and get rejected I’ll feel as though I came off as desperate.
I have a decision to make. But first I want to see their notes.
Thanks for reading. Andrea
Source: © Andrea Rosenhaft