Risky Business

risky business dance

Tomorrow, I’m taking a huge risk.

In a Huffington post interview, Kay Koplovitz once said, ‘you really have to put one foot in front of the other and start on your journey. You have to be comfortable that you don’t know exactly how you are going to get to the results that you want to see. There is going to be experimentation along the way. And you have to be comfortable that you can think your way through and actually execute your way through to the desired outcome. I expected to be successful. I wanted to be successful.’

I don’t know where I see myself in five years but, I know I want to be successful. This is a drive I’ve always had. Success for me isn’t about fame or a high salary. Success is achieving something using my own skills and my own money. Success, is becoming a confident and worldly individual. My ultimate goal is to make a career out of writing. Writing allows you to gather your thoughts and reshape your experiences into something new. Have you ever put all of yourself into a story? Have you ever truly believed in a fiction you have written, modelled on your own memories? It’s scary. Writing takes a lot of courage. I’m three years into my creative writing major and I still struggle with it. And, I sure as hell still struggle with rejection.

Someone who knows well the feeling of rejection is J. K. Rowling. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as a struggling single mother on welfare and faced twelve rejections from publishers. But, she didn’t give up. Eventually, she sold the book for the equivalent of $4 000. The series went on to break numerous sales records and earn a permanent place in the hearts of children and adults all over the world (The Huffington Post, 2013). Rowling’s world and her story will always be important. She built so much out of so little. I hope to do the same.

According to The Huffington Post, we tend to view risk-taking negatively, often regarding it as dangerous and even unwise. But while some risks certainly don’t pay off, it’s important to remember that some do. One of the best ways to learn is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice stability for a more fulfilling life. Emagene Morris at The Global Work & Travel Co. recently told me that most employers actually respect people who take time off to travel and try new things. Dara Khosrowshahi (CEO of Expedia. Inc.) shares this view, saying that ‘travel teaches you and transforms you in tremendous ways that translate into smarter leaders and more passionate employees.’ Travel creates resiliency and opens you to an empathetic world view. You can read more about this on LinkedIn.

With all of this in mind, I will be making a change tomorrow. The change will put me in a really good place. Or, perhaps, a really bad one. This risk is designed to make way for new achievements. Less stress and more time for writing, more time for university and my career. I want to get healthy and spend more time with my family. I want to go to Sunday morning markets with my friends, eat good food and buy nice flowers. I’m hoping that through achieving the small things that make me happy, I will achieve something incredible.

And so, I type six terrifying and terribly exciting words into my search bar.

How to write a resignation letter.

 

Carmel Purcell

 

Sources used:

 

*Risky Business Part 2 – available in November

Being a writer: what do you need to make it happen?

I once heard someone say, ‘We would never talk to another person the way we talk to ourselves.’ As writers our self-talk can be highly critical and extremely biting:tumblr_mbffz2ntyg1rtheg4o1_400-323x450

‘This is terrible.’

‘I’ve written nothing today.’

‘I’ll never finish this.’

‘I’m a failure.’

While we’re not always gentle with ourselves, sometimes the gloves need to come off. There’s a state of agitation that exists between satisfaction and dissatisfaction where creativity and motivation are born: the constant arm wrestle between low and high pressure weather systems that vomit thunder and spit lightning.

In these moments we can be at our very best and at our very worst – the line can be very thin. It’s not easy to be both Good Cop and Bad Cop to the vulnerable and sometimes insecure writer inside of us. As I battled, knee-deep, through the detritus of rejection and seeming failure during the latter part of last year I found my only companion was Bad Cop. It wasn’t long before his tired cynicism began to sound like Truth.

And just as I felt the vestiges of one novel and eighteen-months of work slip through my fingers, I experienced a moment of quiet calm. Soon though, whispers of doubt grew louder and seeds of undoing sprouted stems. It was as I resisted this return to negativity that a question emerged from the ether of my subconscious: What do I need to write?

A challenge and carrot. A push and a pull. In the tug-of-war between Good Cop and Bad Cop, the little agitated atoms within me were shaken into a state of heated friction and proposed a way forward.

It didn’t take me long to come up with the three core things I needed to enable me to write and remain committed to my practice of writing on a regular basis:pencil-writing-ftr

 

  1. Space
  2. Time
  3. Energy

 

  1. Space

Need:    Somewhere I can go where it’s conducive to be a writer and to write.

Action:  I converted the spare room in my house into a writer’s den. I moved in my book cases and stacks of CDs. My notes and plot structures adorn the walls. I’m cocooned in my craft and my stories and my characters.

Result:  I’m writing more regularly, more spontaneously and I’m really enjoying how and what I’m creating.

 

  1. Time

Need:    To carve out thirty, sixty or more minutes per day (or at least five days a week) to write.

Action:  I’m eating more lasagne. I’ve found the 40 minutes while the dish is on the oven a great time to work on some new scenes. On the nights where I’m not eating lasagne it’s either the second I get home from work (thirty minutes of power writing leaves me free to relax for the rest of the evening) or just after a scalding hot shower (the ideas I have in the shower never cease to amaze me).

Result:  Slowly but surely the first draft of my new project is coming together. I’m making steady progress which is very satisfying and keeps Bad Cop at bay.

 

  1. Energy

Need:    To not be fatigued, hungry or tired when I sit down to write. To have the reserves to bring passion and intensity and clarity to my writing.

Action:  Eat better throughout the day. A better breakfast. A good lunch. Some fruit. Something in the afternoon before I leave work. A good dinner when I get home. Exercise – basketball mid-week, football on the weekends. Get a good night’s sleep.

And when I’m not writing, don’t attack myself for not writing. If I’m going to chill out and watch a movie or spend time with a loved one or friend, enjoy that as much as I can. No guilt. No regrets.

Result:  I’m able to get a lot done in a limited amount of time. My writing desk is at a height where I can comfortably stand and type – so I do. And this allows me to bring a lot of movement and dynamism to how write. I’m having so much fun doing what I’m doing.

 

This is the prescription that’s helping me stay on the edge and be sharp in my practice. It’s going to be different for everyone. Each of us will have different elements we’ll need to bring to the table to make our writing work for us. So there’s no one size fits all approach here.

But by starting with one simple and direct question, you’ll be amazed, given application, patience and dedication, where it will lead you. Here’s the challenge:

What do you need to write?

 

Ken Ward

 

Body Image credit: morethanflesh / http://www.lydiamccall.com/heal-negative-body-image/

Taking a Dump

Dump. It’s a simple word, isn’t it? Whether noun or verb, it’s wholly descriptive and the meaning is clear. Not sure? Look it up. But at some point in its otherwise inoffensive history, that meaning was extended (twice over) to include not only the ridding of a person, but also the expulsion of human waste. ‘Just gunna take a dump.’ Used so often it’s almost a catchcry, all who hear it understand the speaker’s intent. Glances are exchanged, a few brows furrow and the announcement is mentally filed under Ew! TMI! Is it a peculiarly Australian idiom? I don’t know. But having grown up here, it’s easy to appreciate the symbolism — when it comes to dumping, a person can be (and often is) accorded the same disdain with which one might regard a piece of shit.

We’ve all been there: the noisy playground filled with energy and spite, kids laughing and crying, rushing and huddling, pushing and shoving, bitching and arguing. And amid all that tumult a single voice still manages to be heard, from fenceline to dingy brick building, even carrying across playing fields and through closed doors to the inner sanctum of the toilet block: ‘You’re DUMPED!’

Oh, the humiliation! The noise mutes to a startled silence, before curiosity kick-starts a murmuring, a muttering, a windy whisper: ‘Dumped? Who’s dumped?’ And all heads crane to see. The Dumper, backed by a gang of supporters, is cross-armed, defiant and always triumphant; the Dumpee stands dejected and alone, the focus of pointing fingers and smirky smiles, before bursting into tears and running off to sob in a quiet corner. Yes, we’ve all been there. And we all know there’s no easy way to take a good dumping.

I was always the Dumpee. At least at school. Of course I learned my lessons well, and applied them in later years with all the gleeful aplomb of a master Dumper. But at school I suffered. Even now I can recall the ignominy of being rejected in fifth grade by Cyril. [No, that wasn’t his real name. Had it been his real name, no such ignominy would’ve transpired. It’s rare — though not impossible — for a Cyril to be hailed as the school stud.]

It goes without saying Cyril had a girlfriend: Ethel, the school babe. The two of them would saunter and strut together, lip-locked and holding hands. And it was fitting that they paraded their youthful (if somewhat overt) sexuality before us lesser beings while we sighed our approval in their wake; they did make a fabulous couple. As only fifth-graders can.

But one day there was a falling-out; a faint rumbling in the Heavens, and Ethel was cast down. Not dumped, per se, but put aside, ‘on hold’ if you like. Punished. Except, being merely mortal and just a little desperate to be adored, I wasn’t attuned to the playful antics of such demi-gods. So when Cyril, with a casual crook of his finger, a head flick and a lazy smile, summoned me over and told me I was ‘next’, I took him at his word. For four glorious days Cyril held my hand, locked his lips to mine instead of Ethel’s and I heard the approving sighs as we floated among the less fortunate. But Ethel didn’t sigh. Nor did her cohort. And on the fifth morning, when I bounded into the school playground with unleashed-puppy eagerness and saw her once again restored to her rightful place, I stared, miserable, while Ethel and Cyril and their hangers-on all sniggered.

‘Oh yeah,’ Cyril told me, with as much concern as he might’ve paid to an untied shoelace. ‘You’re dumped.’

There it was. I’d been rejected. Ejected. Dumped and wiped and flushed. Like shit.

Nope. Even then, aged ten, the symbolism wasn’t lost on me.

Jane Abbott   

the end

He holds your hand in both of his, sitting on that cracked top step, his face grim and vulnerable with tender resolution. “It’ll work out. I’ll work it out.”

You stand before him, panic quickening your heart. “What are you saying?”

“I’ll move.”

He meets your eyes, exposed conviction in his gaze, and your breath is gone. But surely he knew?

montreal

Surely he knew this was the end.

You hear the others through the open door, laughing over their share-house dinner. They know you’re both out here, they know why. Your time is up and you have to decide.

The door is open but this grip of his feels like the most intimate you’ve ever been. The weight of the simple gesture makes it real, terrifying. He waits and you can’t speak.

What did you think would happen? Maybe you hoped that when the moment finally came you’d both laugh and agree it could never work.

Or maybe you wished through the descending seasons that your heart would shed a layer and this would suddenly be right.

The question was there from the moment you met, knowing you were his type and he was yours. He took you to the old hall on campus and you stared up at the tiny stained glass windows, portraits of legendary writers. You were breathless, in awe, like he knew you would be.

His careful approach to life was a relic from his childhood, from his infamous neighbourhood and absent father perhaps. A determination to make the right decisions, avoid hurting others. This was the first commandment of his life, despite the subtle, contained wildness in him: an irresistible conflict of impulse and hesitation.

Were you completely honest with each other? Not really, not with the deeper stuff, the hidden places. You showed him most of who you were: not everything, but more than usual. The rest you dropped in hints, hoping he would catch them, hoping he would show some sign of awareness, acceptance.

But if you lost your security or your strength or your resolve or your temper it would surprise him. He would try to re-strategise, to deal with this new antagonist in you, full of tense dissatisfaction.

You didn’t want to be dealt with (even thought he didn’t mean it that way). You needed someone who would push back, who would put you in your place or be moved by your conviction or slam the door in your face or thrust you against a wall. He would be slow and considerate and that would make you push further, irrationally scratching for that true impulse, the indication that you were both alive to the same humanity.

Perhaps you’ve known all along that he couldn’t be that person. But still you wanted to be with him, to see what would emerge, hoping he would prove you wrong. All the passing seasons have faded into this inevitable parting and all you’ve thought about is this moment, forming your heart around the possibility of a future.

Perhaps it’s your fault for letting your heart go because now the memories are too real and they won’t go away, wedged in your mind, forever shadowing the years of your life.

Time is up and you have to decide, and here he is on the step with his earnest eyes telling you he’ll move, he’ll follow you, he’ll make it work, and you know he believes it.

So, you see? No one wins. Both of you cautiously following the path of possibility, neither willing to make the first mistake, and this where it ends. Surely he knew that?

But no, he never did, and for that you blame him. Now you have to be the one to admit reality, to open his eyes to the truth. You must be the one who does this awful thing and it’s not fair. You gave him your heart, you tried, and yet he still doesn’t know you, not really.

The laughter grows louder in your ears and your hand trembles in his grip, under his waiting gaze. He has broken your heart, and now you must break his.

Elise Janes

Facing Rejection Head On

Rejection silhouetteI’ve been thinking about rejection a lot lately for two reasons. First is that it was a pre-determined topic for discussion amongst us Cringers, each knowing a potential place in the Hardcopy Professional Development Program ‘Round 2 – Going Public’ was on the cards. Thirty writers. Ten places up for grabs. Second, if rejection came my way, how would I cope with, process and survive the experience?

Yes, survive.

For a long time, as I mulled on this topic (see – even now I’m distancing myself from the word, the concept, the reality)…

< Stop >

< Start again >

For a long time as I dwelled on what rejection is and what it is to be rejected, I attempted to hide my true feelings in metaphors, anecdotes, analogies.

Each resulted in a watered-down effort, underpinned by an unconscious aim to deflect shame from myself and from my work.

And after all this time, one truth remains: I cannot run from this. I cannot hide from it.

So, nervously, I stand here before you, a man rejected and owning it.

And here’s where I’m at right now, because I am by no means through the end of this experience yet and still need space and time to work it all out.

Can I start by asking, what’s your position on rejection?

Mine is clear – in a perfect world, I’m always looking back at it. That’s the best place to see rejection – in the past, as something that’s happened, an experience had and now, thankfully, left behind.

To embark on an endeavour and know that rejection may be one of the obstacles in your way is all well and good. But if I truly believed that rejection was going to come my way as I set out on any creative journey or passionate undertaking, I’d never have taken that first step.

So I ignore it, knowing that what I’m doing will surely resonate and find an audience. The quality and depth of my work will be evident to all who come across it. I pay lip service to rejection. ‘Yes I know this journey is long and hard and unforgiving at times,’ is what I say, but my inner voice speaks differently. And right at this moment alignment between the expectation of my outer and inner narratives diverge. I say reasonable things, talk about humility and modesty. It’s all for show.

That’s why the worst place to be is facing front onto to rejection right before it hits you.

Blinkered peripheral vision and rose-tinted glasses on, I never see it coming. I believe I’m immune, that there’s something about me, about my work, that separates me from everyone else.

You already know what comes next, right?

Rejection. Full-on and in my face.

Something that means the world to me wasn’t recognised as a project worthy to progress further along the development program I’ve been on. And now that path ends and I’m left to find new avenues for exploration and advancement.

As modest and humble as I’d like to be, I didn’t see it coming. I knew it was a possibility, well, no, really, I didn’t. It was a word, a connotation, something reflecting a deficiency present in others but not me.

And then it careened at breakneck speed into the middle of my life.

So, yes, looking back on rejection is always the preferable place to be. But I’m not there yet. It’s still close. It still stings and I still struggle between acceptance and bitterness.

I’m okay though. I’m still writing. I feel truckloads of passion for my novel and this setback hasn’t set me back too much at all.

Ken Ward

Prologue

She balances on a knife-edge. Between tragedy and cliché.

He accuses her of vandalism as he picks chocolate from the fabric of his chair. They were the chocolates he’d given her on Valentine’s Day, the day before he confessed that his Valentine is elsewhere. She couldn’t stomach the thought of eating them and they looked close enough to dog turds when smeared into his chair.

He does not leave the house. It is Dante’s definition of hell. Proximity without intimacy.

The dog can smell her distress and cowers.

He has stopped talking to her. But the rest of the world is.
ABBA: Breaking up is hard to do.
Elton John: Turn on those sad songs, those sad songs, they say so much.
The calendar: Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
She wishes it was tomorrow not today. She wants to believe in time travel so herself-in-three-years can come back and tell her-today: it’s all okay. If it is.

The Real Estate Agent’s eyes light up the moment he’s through the door. They are the fat parasites of marriage failure. They feast on the corpse. It’s the only way they get hold of such gems: the beautiful family home.

Sympathy is a killer.

She wonders about forgiveness. Forgiving him. Forgiving herself.
Maybe there is no such thing as forgiveness. Mark Twain said it was the scent the violet gives off as it is crushed beneath the boot.

Advice comes unsolicited: Let go. Move on. Make decisions. Get on with it. What is past is gone. What is past is prologue.

She reads Chekhov: it is sometimes the most insignificant people who realize happiness is found in ordinary things. She looks on her desk at ordinary things. The paper. The pen.
The prelude to her life is over. If only she could turn the page, and under the heading, Chapter One, begin to write.
About anything but him. So why does it keep coming back to him?

Jane Downing

The Rejectee’s Guide to Recovery

Despite the tact with which a rejecter will attempt to frame their delicate response, we all know it comes down to one simple fact: they don’t like your work. Maybe you’re not what they’re looking for right now, or the timing is wrong, or you’re simply not up to scratch, but the underlying point is that if they loved it, they’d take it, and they haven’t, so they don’t.

Rejection sucks because no matter what anyone says, it is personal.

So why not accept it? Take a moment for some well-deserved self-pity and emotional wallowing with the aid of a few practical tools. I give you the best five things to read, watch and listen to in the post-rejection wasteland:

Read

  1. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway

The thinly veiled autobiography of writerly disillusionment offers a number of good tips for the emotionally wasted: drink absinthe in Paris, fish in the Pyrenees, drink wine in Pamplona, argue with friends, watch a bloody spectacle, run with the bulls. It’s also a nice melancholy reflection on desiring something eternally out of reach.

  • ALSO: Anything by Hemingway or Fitzgerald will have a close effect.
  1. The Motorcycle Diaries – Ernesto “Che” Guevara

A startlingly beautiful memoir of the fateful nine months a 23-year-old Guevara spent travelling South America. Between the gorgeous landscape and fascinating anecdotes, get worked up about social injustice and indigenous poverty. Let loose your vicarious desire to join a revolution and make this damn unfair world a better place.

  • ALSO: On the Road, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Less Than Zero and other romans à clef will serve a similar purpose.
  1. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

Not only is Heathcliff the best literary creation ever, you can also shelve your murderous impulses and let him take your vengeful fantasies to the extreme. Themes of obsession, possession, revenge and passionate, destructive love will make you feel righteously justified, and the gothic atmosphere will add depth to your moodiness.

  • ALSO: Jane Eyre and Rebecca for hauntings of the past; The Count of Monte Cristo for elaborately plotted revenge.
  1. The White Tiger – Aravind Adiga

Read, with growing unease, the story of Balram Halwai’s gradual corruption as he sheds his family background to transcend poverty in a heavily caste-riven society. The message is clear and discomforting, confirming your suspicions that the only way to get ahead is to cut a few corners/throats.

  • ALSO: For atmosphere: English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee. For classic rags-to-riches: Vanity Fair and Great Expectations.
  1. Carrie – Stephen King

Whether or not you’re a fan of the King, sometimes a good horror story is just necessary. He can also weave a damn good yarn and surprisingly three-dimensional characters into the gore and strangeness. A bullied adolescent girl getting hers back is satisfying on so many levels, no matter who you are.

  • ALSO: Other violent revenge tales such as True Grit, Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, and of course Hamlet.

Watch

  1. Empire Records (1995)

Many 90s movies showcased the quirkiness of youth and the value (or futility) of standing up to The Man. None with such colourful aplomb as Empire Records. The characters are zany, the music fantastic, the dialogue hilarious, and the embrace-your-inner-crazy-and-refuse-to-sell-out message is charmingly encouraging. It gets better with each watch.

  1. The Big Sleep (1946)

Raymond Chandler wrote crime novels that didn’t always make sense but we forgave him because he created Philip Marlowe and invented noir. Read the book as well but the 1946 movie, with Humphrey Bogart, is a standalone classic. Be encouraged by frequent double-crossings, the latent atmosphere of disillusionment and the general shittiness of people.

  1. Django Unchained (2012)

Eccentric characters, tangled plot, memorable dialogue, and unnecessary amounts of blood. Must be Tarantino. His deft mood-changes from slapstick comedy to nail-biting rage somehow pinpoint both the endearing and horrific qualities of human nature with great authenticity. No one does revenge quite like him.

  1. On the Waterfront (1954)

Corruption narratives are so cathartic when you’ve been screwed over. Nominated for 12 Oscars, the cast and crew read like a who’s who of golden-era greats. Your fists will clench at the fate of Marlon Brando’s character Terry Malloy, particularly the moment he delivers that line: I coulda been a contender! And you will think: me too, buddy. Me too.

  1. Magnolia (1999) & Crash (2004)

Both movies feature brilliantly interwoven storylines with star-spangled ensemble casts delivering pivotal performances. Dark themes abound but situations manage to resolve with surprising optimism, and without too much Hollywood contrivance. Magnolia is the less crowd-pleasing of the two, and it also has Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Listen

  1. Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

In this seminal album the band manage to sum up all the melancholic love, confusion and frustrated desire of every generation alive. It goes without saying that “Don’t Look Back in Anger” and “Wonderwall” should be the first on your playlist.

  1. The Darkness – Permission to Land

The best album for air-guitaring and hair-swinging to come out of the noughties. Catchy falsetto lyrics give everyone permission to sing out of tune at the top of their lungs. “Get Your Hands Off My Woman” is one of the most satisfying experiences in the universe.

  1. Ben Folds – Whatever and Ever Amen

The epitome of Ben Fold’s early work: revel in his angsty, anti-adolescent rage and insecurity with “One Angry Dwarf”, “The Battle of Who Could Care Less” and the superbly appropriate “Song for the Dumped”.

  1. Colin Hay – Going Somewhere

Leaving Men at Work far behind, his solo acoustic stuff is where Hay’s talent really shines. We have Zach Braff to thank for bringing him back into the light on Scrubs. Do not miss “Beautiful World”, an acoustic cover of “Overkill”, or “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin”.

  1. Rock of Ages Soundtrack – Various

Yeah it’s a compilation but there’s something about cheesy 80s rock that just feels so good when you’re pissed off. This collection features the full range from “We’re Not Gonna Take It” to “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”.

So after enjoying the vicarious fulfillment of your emotional frustrations, take a moment to reflect. All of this incredible art came from people who felt just as shitty as you at some point in their lives. And if they can make the proverbial lemonade out of rejection’s lemons, then why can’t you?

Elise Janes

Share with us! Suggest your own artistic rejection-remedy in the comments below.

Reject-Me-Nots for Writers: How to Get and Give Rejection Letters

bath time

We all deal with rejection in our own way — take a bath or have a good cry. Source: National Library of Australia (nla.gov.au/nla.ms-ms2852-19-4x).

Like most writers, I’ve had my fair share of “de-successings”, “thanks but no thanks” and “if you continue to send your work to us we will release the hounds” letters. Part of ‘getting your work out there’ is that often it gets bounced back to you, but it makes it all the more satisfying when a reader/editor/intern actually ‘gets’ your work.

To paraphrase one of my favourite rejection letters – their opinions are learned but also subjective. Your work can fall on their desk at exactly the wrong time, be in the middle of a lump of stories on the exact same subject or just be the piece that’s read before an editor has a cup of coffee. Don’t take it personally because there are a thousand decisions between your submission and publication. Some writers develop such strong relationships with their work that a rejection letter hurts like getting dumped.

So like a good break-up, a good rejection letter is clear and concise but respectful. The worst rejection letter I got back in the days of snail mail was a slip of paper that was one line — “Thanks, but we have no use for your work at this time”. It had been torn using a ruler. They’d been too cheap to blow a whole piece of A4 paper and had just torn off several strips — probably with the same handwritten line. It was as flattering as being dumped by SMS.

Conciseness is key. A friend of mine received a bulk email that apologised for the bulk email then rambled on about how incredibly busy the editors had been —before finally getting to the point. My friend summarised it as: “Well then, faceless hordes, you’re rejected!”

No-one’s expecting a personal reply. But personalising the process a little can help the egos of writers. At Cardigan Press when we sent out rejection letters we had a not-quite list to whom we gave some general feedback with a few common reasons why they hadn’t been selected. Telling people how many submissions you got can be a good way to put things in perspective. At Cardigan we once got an email back saying it was the nicest rejection letter someone had ever received.

For writers, any feedback should be good news. If an editor gives any feedback writers should gobble it up greedily and use it to improve the piece. Editors are busy folk with very little time so if they invest a second giving you feedback then it’s because they gave a good goddamn for your piece and want to develop you as a writer. Take any feedback as a compliment.

But if you’re still smarting from a rejection letter try the counter rejection. It’s a cathartic experience, and even if you never send it, writing a rejection letter to the publication that rejected you allows you both to move on. Here’s a template:

 Dear Sir/Madam (I’m far too busy and important to take in your name or gender)

 Thanks for your rejection letter. Unfortunately at this time I’m unable to accept your rejection letter.

I receive several rejection letters regularly and whilst your rejection letter was of a particularly high standard, I’m limited by the number of rejection letters I can receive. So while I encourage you to continue sending rejection letters, I won’t be able to accept yours at the present time.

Instead I’ll be going around inserting my piece into your publication at various retailers using specially purchased industrial glue. I’ll also be visiting the homes of leading reviewers to interrupt their reading of your title by megaphoning in their ears “We was robbed”.

 Please be assured that I won’t stop, short of legal action or violence against your pets as deemed appropriate by myself and the other judges of rejection letters (who are also sought by authorities in connection with several unresolved crime novels).

 Thanks for your time,

Hackpacker

George Dunford   

Reject-me-nots was first published in March 2014 on George Dunford’s website.