Monday, January 14, 2008

Rejection Slips

Two rejections arrived in the mail on Saturday, one of which was so small that I couldn't find it in the envelope at first. I finally fished out a tiny scrap of paper with uneven edges and an excruciatingly polite preprinted message. Like the fortune in a cookie, except that this one had been xeroxed so many times that the print was slightly tilted on the paper.  Whereas a fortune in a cookie actually is mass-produced and delivered at random, it manages to feel intimate--if only for a moment. This rejection, although sent directly to me, seemed mass produced. 

I imagine a woman in a little cocktail dress sitting at a bar. Every time a man approaches and does his little patter or offers to buy her a drink, she flicks a glance at him, then fishes one of these scraps of paper from her bag and hands it to him. Thank you so much for the opportunity to carefully review your fine personality. Unfortunately, it doesn't meet my needs at this time. Everyone experiences rejection at one time or another, and I'm sure that you will eventually find someone else who appreciates you more. I regret that the volume of solicitations I receive prevents me from replying in a more personal manner. Good luck in your future endeavors.

THE EXERCISE: Writers say that the best way to get past a rejection is to time the disappointment. Figure out how long it takes to get over it. A day? A week? And how bad does it feel, anyway? There's a pang at the sight of my own handwriting on the letter in the mailbox and then a sort of mild embarrassment for a day or so, then nothing. That's not so bad.

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