Starving Artists and Rejection Slips at Christmas

It’s the worst part of being an ‘artist’. For this reason they came up with the term, starving artist, to make the whole thing seem romantic. To make the artist think he has a right to starve, since he is the ‘creative’ type, the one who lives on dreams, who is too lazy to get a proper job and earn a decent salary. I must have got a thousand rejection slips by now, most of them computer generated, but every time I get one, I get that feeling deep down in my stomach that I’m wasting time. That I should be thinking of getting a job as a teacher in some village secondary school — though with the way things are today, it might be harder getting such a job than getting published! At least, thank God for the internet, I can blog and pretend to be famous writer because I have about a hundred followers, who don’t even read the blog.
Edgar A. Poe, very famous, but he was a poor church mouse.

And yesterday, I got another rejection slip! It came in the form of a nicely wrapped Christmas present. It went something like, “We have seen your potential and encourage you to submit again next year.” For the first time, I lost it. I did something they warn artists never to do. When you get a rejection letter, you simply stomach it and try elsewhere, but this time, I could not contain it anymore. I wrote back to the bloody fools, saying; “You dimwits! It’s the fourth time you are sending me that computer-generated rejection slip! But guess what, I am sending you one of my own — at least it’s not computer generated — because I am tired of sending you work! I will never, ever, ever, submit to you again! Got it! Hahahaha! And I’m going to organize a writers strike, I’ll ask everyone to boycott your stupid magazine, and then who will you send those computer generated rejection slips to? Bastards.”

Of course, my email wasn’t so strongly worded, and it wasn’t to a magazine, but well, I’m trying to protect the identity of the idiots. Just don’t know why I bothered to contact them after they sent three bloody rejection slips!

Here is a site I keep visiting to read rejection slips.

Well, Kafka’s life story is some kind of consolation. His life was full of rejection slips. He only got famous after his death. His novellas, letters, and essays never saw publication in his lifetime – in fact, he ordered his contemporary Max Brod, the executor of his estate, to burn every manuscript without reading them. But what use is fame if you are dead? :-)) 

Franza Kafka’s grave in Prague
Steven Crane. I loved his stories, but he too died broke.

Qn: “How did you go bankrupt?”

Ans: “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

~ Hemingway:

This incident reminded me of a blog I wrote, a long time ago, in I’ve pasted it 
below, unedited. :-)) And I love the anonymous response it got :-))

New hope or New year?

Amazing how Editors can appear out of the blue gloom to lift up your spirits.

I’ve just had another terrible xmas, like all my xmases are. It’s the time when people hang out with their loved ones and family. Its the time also that reminds me how much I lack all these. No family (well, there is one, brothers, father, a mother, but each time I see any of them, I get nightmares. Bad nightmares like those on Elm Street) No loved one either. It’s been a long and sorrowful life for me (you call 29 long?) and this xmas brought out my forlonity in with such graphic clarity that I found myself looking back at the events that made my life what it is. It goes way back to my earliest memory, sex with a neighbours daughter. she was 3, i was 4. it was traumatizing: there was the gal who died (hit by a car as I crossed the road with her) when I was about 5. I think those two made my life what it is. pathetic. those two sparked off a series of a lot of other incidents that make me forever a loner. And this christmas made me see all these in a new light, made me feel my ambitions to be a writer were contemptous. Made me feel my life wasn’t worth living. Made me feel so many things that I swore to end this miserable life before I’m 30, if I haven’t broken into the ranks of pros.

Well, and then this morning, I get an email. At first I think it’s junk. I’ve forgotten all about this story, and this magazine, and I read the letter three times to remember both. It’s an acceptance. 25$. And I’m like ‘Oh shit, I aint that bad.” Of course it isn’t the only thing I’ve ever published, but its the only acceptance in over a year and it was begining to get to my throat.

It’s such small favours from the Editors (who live in Olympus, is that the correct spelling of that mountain?) that keeps miserables like us going.

Maybe this year will be a different one for me.

[ 01:52 ] [ 2007-Jan-9 ] [ Post Comment ]

Melancholy Breakfast

I’m always upbeat and happy because I need to suppress my childhood memories with fake, happy thoughts, when people are around.

After reading your sad, yet truthful article, I mean blog, I’ve decided to stay sad and that will make me a better writer. I ‘m going to tell my loved ones to not talk to me for week and see if I could write better scripts.

Maybe I should send my son to Iraq and then I will definetly NOT be faking my sadness.

Or better yet, maybe I should watch Bush’s speech tonight at nine and then I will truly fall under despair.

[ Anonymous ] [ 11:58 ] [ 2007-Jan-10 ] [ Link ]

PS: The story mentioned above went on to get nominated for the Million Writers Award: Notable Online Stories of 2007. You can read it here

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