I recently received my first rejection since I started this blog in April. A short poem I’d submitted to a well-known children’s magazine was “not right for us.”
It wasn’t my first rejection by far. (We writers have to get used to rejection or we would never submit anything. Our stories would remain locked up inside us, silently struggling to seep out of our pores.)
The morning I received the rejection I had a conversation with my aunt. She asked if I remembered that when I was diagnosed with cancer 14 years ago I told her that I just wanted to see my boys go to kindergarten. And as long as I got to do that, I’d be okay with whatever happened. (They were 7 months and two-years-old when I was diagnosed.) I don’t remember saying that to her but I do remember thinking it. I remember thinking that asking to see my babies graduate from high school or college would be too much. Too greedy. So I chose kindergarten, the closest educational step. What seemed the most possible at the time.
After talking with my aunt that day and being reminded about my good fortune to still be breathing, I opened the rejection. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and letting Shoulder Frank spew his soul-crushing evil like I’ve done in the past, I let myself have a brief moment of disappointment and then I veered right to gratitude.
I’m grateful for that rejection because I am still alive to be able to write poems and essays and articles and stories that can be rejected. I could easily be dead but I’m not. Thanks to the power of modern medicine I’m alive to see my children in high school. And I’m alive to write.
So who cares if that magazine didn’t want my poem!
Perspective is everything.
In case you need a little help figuring out what you can be grateful for, check out my free one-minute e-book, 100 Things Anyone Can be Grateful For. Even if nothing else speaks to you, the world’s best brownie recipe will. It’s my grandmother’s and it’s divine.