Finding Love In My Rejection

The best thing about rejection is having someone to share it with.

I submitted a book proposal on relationships to a highly respected literary agent. In her feedback, she said she liked the “humour, great stories and common sense” but detailed her legitimate concerns about representing my project. For an agent to even acknowledge a book proposal (especially one submitted by an unknown) and to give invaluable recommendations is practically unheard of in this crazy industry. She was beyond generous and kind.

Still, I had had my hopes up. I had dreamed of us walking our dogs together sipping lattes (I’m not even sure whether she is a coffee or a tea drinker) while brainstorming about my manuscript. In my mind, I was thanking her at my future book launch party (standing room only, the best mojitos in town, and me looking effortlessly elegant in my new Louboutin heels). My dream has been temporarily dashed.

I hate to suffer alone. If I’m going to have a good cry, I expect company.

The most wonderful, incredible thing has happened. In sharing my rejection I have been so buoyed by my amazing family and friends. Through this minor setback I have found myself more loved and validated than I ever could have imagined.

Here are some snippets of love I received by text and email:

My son Micah: Aw: that’s too bad (Virtual hugs sent) As long as this is something you still enjoy and what gives you purpose in the day, I think that’s what really counts. But rejection is never fun. Love you!

My son Jake: Hugs all the way from Halifax. But consider this: Walter Benjamin, one of my favourite writers and theorists, was never given a position at a university despite how hard he shot for one. He was broke beyond compare and lived a terribly miserable life, and yet is now esteemed as one of the most brilliant minds of modernity.

My cousin Jen: I wish I could come over and make you a hot chocolate with 1,003 mini marshmallows in it. If it is too early to try to cheer you up, I am also happy to wallow with you. I’m pretty good at it lately, what with all the online “rejections” I’ve been getting. Writing your book is a little like online dating it seems.

My friend Alison: It’s just a temporary stumbling block to show you how tough and persistent you can be. Plus you don’t have to give an agent 15% for the rest of your life. That’s a plus!

My wonderful sister Anita, and fabulous writing mentor Ania also dropped everything to help me put things into perspective and plow ahead with confidence. And so many others near and dear to me have said all the right things.

But the email that meant the most was from my husband John. He has believed in my project from Day 1, has graciously and with good humour allowed me to use him as a character in my stories, and has been my most trusted sounding board:

“As you take some time to deal with this small setback, you mustn’t allow yourself to have any doubts whatsoever about the value of what you are doing. You are developing a unique voice. You are offering genuine insights that more and more people are enjoying and benefiting from. Most important of all, I see what your renewed energy and sense of purpose bring to our relationship every day. Who would have thought that after all this time, our life together would just keep getting better and better. That is a direct result of all the work and thought you are putting into this project. I love you. And I believe in you.”

The tennis great Arthur Ashe said, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” I think I know that now.

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