Friday, July 23, 2010

Rejection and Mrs. Ringo

First off, I should tell you that I am ALSO at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash today, Spreading the Love (literally—that's my blog title)--so if you want a little love, head on over THERE, too.

Now the project HERE today, has to do with The Rejectionist's Blogiversary... she asked for an 'essay' on what a form rejection means to ME.... So here it goes...



Rejection and Mrs. Ringo

Y'all know with the Naked World Domination Tour, and the ever-growing cadre of minions, that sometimes I FORGET the world won't be handed to me on a silver platter. I mean it SHOULD, right? I'm deserving. But there are bizillions of people out there, including pretty much ALL the literary agents, who haven't gotten the message. It all reminds me a little of how I became intent on Total World Domination (even if I had yet to merge the fact of my Nudism with it at the time). I have Mrs. Ringo to thank.

My high school math teacher looked... pretty much EXACTLY like the girl of the Campbell Soup Kids (somebody back me up here—calling on Moscow High School grads—she DID, didn't she?) Her voice didn't help, it was high pitched and very precious... imagine how a Cupie Doll would sound... And I gave her an awful lot of grief, though hopefully she only knew the half of it, as part of it consisted of writing down what she wore each day (she had 4 outfits) and keeping track of how many days her pants had a chalk line from leaning on the blackboard (she ran about 85%). I was a SERIOUSLY TERRIBLE HORRIBLE STUDENT. A NIGHTMARE.

In my defense, I was in the advanced math class and desperate to prove I was STILL A REBEL, even if I was good at math. No easy feat when in a class of 200, only ONE math class was ahead in Jr. High, and in my first high school math class EVERYONE was older.

You see though, the joke was on ME. Mrs. Ringo would say things to me (by the time I got to Calculus and so only had same age peers, which emboldened me to be more openly a smartass), “Well, Tami, I don't think YOU can do this.” (Tami is my peon name, if you'll remember) She was referring to getting an A on a test, or a certain kind of problem. And do you want to know how I responded?

Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time KNOWS I hate to be told what I can and can't do... that being told 'you can't' makes me do it just to spite them... no matter HOW I have to bust my butt to do it... So all these things Mrs. Ringo said I couldn't do? I did. Oh, I didn't always get As in Calculus... Only when she basically DARED ME. She was a whole heck of a lot smarter than I gave her credit for—one of VERY few teachers to EVER tap into my inner rebel.

And what does that have to do with form rejection? *cough* My second round of queries, my inner rebel yawned. My third round it opened an eye. And then I proceeded to find ANOTHER WAY IN. HA! Take that you Tart Rejector you! I will make it WITHOUT the query process! HA!

By this, I mean... I managed to find a back door... get a referral... establish a relationship with an agent... audition for a specific series and get a contract offer... erm... Okay, so it's not even a back door. I crawled in a window... but there was no Query involved.

The form rejections have been saved... about 30, I think, since a couple never responded... I will wallpaper with them one day... And I'm SURE I will Query again, though my project agent will get first shot the next time I feel something is truly cleaned up for submission, and if SHE doesn't want it, she darned well isn't going to give me a FORM REJECTION about it, as we have a working relationship on something she is getting money for, so at least I will have a chance to clean it up with some advice, or a referral to an agent she knows, if it is just a genre she doesn't want to sub.

I really get the NEED for form rejections, but I think as writers we can't take them too personally. To a QUERY, I really never have. To a requested partial or full—it is a little offensive—a sentence at least, would be nice, but hey... I am in the process of hiring right now, and I don't relish contacting the people we didn't pick, so I guess I get that to some degree too... just part of the process. I am just not inclined to follow rules.

24 comments:

cassandrajade said...

I never kept my rejections and I'm pretty sure that I won't keep any of my rejections in the future. I write down in a book where I've already queried so I don't bother them again but once I've read the rejection it kind of gets tossed. Which is odd for me, given I keep everything else forever. And I do mean everything.
As to finding a backdoor/window, they say where there is a will, there is a way and you clearly had the will. Congrats and thanks for sharing your story with us.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Congrats on finding a way to sneak into the inner circle! I don't mind form rejections on querries either. I can't stand them when I've had a partial out for weeks with the agent- just a little hint as to the why or how of it would placate me. Alas, I am still stuck in the querying mud.

Cruella Collett said...

Tee hee - I think I love your high school maths teacher... And the funny thing is that your "rebel" activities probably also taught you a great deal about maths - percentages, for instance. Did you also start calculating the probability for her wearing each of her outfits? *giggles*

As for rejections - I can't wait :p

Boonsong said...

Wow! Great post.
I was rejected once, so I know what it's like.

Have a nice day, Boonsong

Old Kitty said...

You rebel with a cause!! LOL!! But hey if it works for you - go for it and GOOD LUCK!!!!

I don't know whether to feel sorry for your Maths teacher or not.. she really looked like that?? Wow.

Take care
x

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Someone dared to tell you no, Hart? Is that teacher still alive?

Hart Johnson said...

Cassandra--I keep them with the intention of someday being famous and wanting to have the ABILITY to prove who rejected me... not that I necessarily WILL (either get so famous anyone would care or publicize their names once I do) but... you know how these revenge plots run...

Katie-yeah, that query mud STINKS! You'll make your way out one day, though... I have faith.

Mari--yeah... some math involved in being a pill there *snort* I always LIKED math... wonder what she'd think to know I'm a statistician...

Boonsong--I don't believe you were rejected!

OK--She REALLY DID look like that! I swear! It's funny--I don't think I recognized though, how much her approach helped until I was well into adulthood.

Hart Johnson said...

Alex-you snuck in there!--I know, right?! I ought to page Adriaan and see if she's still teaching--I am FB friends with my HS history teacher because he's super groovy. Whatever the case, there was no malicious retribution on MY part, as I didn't yet have minions to carry out my orders.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I have a bunch of rejections in a drawer. I keep thinking I need to get rid of them! I think the rejections never really stop...they just might take the form of negative reviews, etc. But I think I like to remember that I kept on going when the doors were closing in my face.

Will Burke said...

When you are queen, you can post those rejections on the wall over where fooliss Tart rejecters spend their days shovelling horses***. PS You listen to Aerosmith AND Korn? Be still my beating heart!!

Falen (Sarah) said...

Ha! "Tart Rejectors" - awesome.

Hart Johnson said...

Elizabeth-I think negative book reviews WILL hurt more, though in some cases at least, they will be from people who just don't like the genre and such, so hopefully I can delude myself that THOSE aren't personal either!

Will *snort* LOVE that image! (and yes--Aerosmith AND Korn)

Sarah *teehee* There are a fair few... I'm just the wrong flavor for some, I think...

Ellen said...

Great advice! Because they definitely aren't personal, so we shouldn't take them that way (hell, they're even called 'form' rejections, they can't be personal, right?)

LTM said...

what's this "form rejection" of which you speak?

BAH! I kid because I love. Good stuff here. Looking forward to the kozy~ ;p

M.J. Nicholls said...

9x5, minus 50, plus 92, divided by 3. What is it? Come on! No cheating! If that's too easy, let's times 50 by Л.

Hart Johnson said...

Ellen--WELCOME! and EXACTLY!

Leigh--Oi! No rejections for you, eh? *snort*

Mark: 29 and 150something

TreeX said...

That's not pi, is it? That's a Russian character...

The Rejectionist said...

NOT PERSONAL YES EXACTLY.

RaShelle said...

Hey Hart - Don't you love looking back and recognizing when a teacher "got" you? Even if yours DID look like the Campbell's soup girl. LOL

Anyway smartypants, great going with crawling in the window. Glad you found one open. Yay!!!! Love your post today and love the pic. She's a cutie patootie. LOL

Lisa said...

I'm the girl who can't pass up a dare. I think we might be related.

I'm still procrastinating on the query letter. And laying in a lot of comfort wine. With beer back up. The time is coming and I need to prepare for those rejections - form and otherwise.

kimberlyloomis said...

Good luck! Never thought to distinguish between a form rejection and a more personalized one, query vs partials - I can easily see your point. I've saved some of mine and, when I start querying for this new project, I will do so again. Keep feeding that inner rebel. Gotta keep her strong. :)

Hart Johnson said...

Joris--you got a pi you can share? I think that is what the keyboard intends as pi.

A Rejectionist visit! I WIN!

RaShelle-I had a friend unlock it for me, so not ALL luck, though I suppose quite lucky to have the friend. And Yes, love discovering when someone tricked me into bettering myself... that is my kind of sneaksey...

Lisa--very probably related. Both the dare, and the reliance on merlot and microbrews to numb the pain!

Kimberly-really? I grasp onto any personalization at all--even EMBRACE those that get my gender wrong (Hart being ambiguous)... but yes, on keeping them to feed the inner rebel!

Powdered Toast Man said...

I read what you wrote but all I was thinking about was a nice hot bowl of soup.

Hart Johnson said...

*snort* PTM- I keep trying to AVOID soup, as our weather keeps giving me reminders!