Received a rejection from Ellen Datlow on Friday as I was heading out to the Bakka Christmas party. Somehow without seeing the envelope, or going to the front of the house where the mail has been stacked of late to blow away in the wind, I knew that the response was there. So it was only when I was bundled up and heading out that I grabbed the envelope, and my hydro bill, and was only vaguely surprised that my premonition had turned out to be correct.
Though a Bakka gathering would have been a lovely place to share good news, I had no good news to share--at least not an acceptance. But it was another short personal note, signed and very much like the last one that I received from her--with one addition. At the end of the short apologetic sentences was the simple line, "I hope to see your next."
And I, walking down the icy street with my face buried in my scarf, could only think, "And I look forward to sending it to you."
Somehow, this sums up the last few days: still not positive, but looking up. Though I am tired enough right now that my eyes ache, I feel like I'm just waking. For now I will only say that the end of November and December thus far have sucked royally, have been craptacular to the utmost degree, and yet I'm beginning to feel like I can handle it. My base state is not nearly so low.
It's late enough in the year that I am ready to declare 2004 The Year of No Acceptances. This could suck, I suppose, but in comparison with everything else it just seems like a minor drag. After a pause, I can't help but wonder: does that sound like self-pity? Maybe a little melodramatic? Because it's meant to be neither. There is nothing like holding hurt and fearful friends and family members as they cry or try not to, people whose hearts are broken or breaking or faltering, to get a little perspective.
It is too bad that I didn't sell any stories this year; I wish I was able to cheerfully report successes. And yet to such a great degree, it's out of my hands. And so I've made myself a hot chocolate, and warmed up the Magic Bag to help soothe my aching neck, and I will curl up on the couch with my book and listen to the frozen wind shrieking outside the window and I'll say, "Maybe next year." And that's okay.