Tuesday, 29 March 2011


This is something one of my creative writing professors at Ball State University taught me:

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two Impostors just the same; Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.”
-Rudyard Kipling

I was faced with a type of disaster (well, in my world it is; I can only be thankful it is not of the Japanese-flooding-and-nuclear-meltdown ilk) when I checked the post yesterday only to find my SASE from the one, the only, Judith Murdoch Literary Agency. Seeing how pathetically thin it was could only mean one thing. It was a dreaded rejection letter. It had been only a couple of weeks since sending her my synopsis and first two chapters, no life story, as per her submission requirements. So at least I didn't spend a lot of my time drumming my fingers annoyingly on the table and nervously pacing up and down the living room wondering, agonizing, waiting for a reply. In fact, a couple of weeks - that is almost hideously fast. Is that a bad sign? A fast rejection? I have had one within four hours before.  But two weeks by post, that's like, the equivalent to an email reply four hours after sending.

My novel, according to her (or perhaps her readers?) was not something that would make her enthusiastic enough to justify her commitment to representing it. Also, a curious (but personalized!) P.S.: The synopsis did not seem to fit the text I sent.

To which my face pretty much fell on the floor.

And then, after dusting myself off and collecting what shreds of dignity I had left, I got a strange, flashing image in my head of Jim Carrey as Lloyd Christmas in Dumb & Dumber. His part-psychopathic grin, his dim gaze.

Lloyd Christmas: "Hit me with it. Just give it to me straight. I came a long way just to see you, Mary, just, the least you could do is just level with me. What are my chances."

Mary Swanson: "Not good."

Lloyd Christmas: "...You mean not good like one out of a hundred?"

Mary Swanson: "I'd say more like one out of a million."

Lloyd Christmas: "...So you're telling me there's a chance. YEAH!"


  1. "Lloyd Christmas: "...So you're telling me there's a chance. YEAH!""

    LMAO...coffee dripping down my chin, with that one, eh? LOL!

    I don't know what to say about your rejection letter other than good luck and it's so hard to say what each one (and the length of time) means. The whole publishing industry is in such a state of upheaval, these days. That can be a blessing or a curse for you.

    Your persistence gives me (who hopes to be in your shoes one day) hope and I am watching to see you make it! I hope your skin can be thick and help you withstand the "lashings." ;o) I am pulling for you, V, from a small corner of Idaho!!!

  2. Thank you, Lil, for your kind words - you have no idea how valuable they are. I have (through experience) developed a thick skin and no longer put on my 'Rejection face' as I call it. (Instead I kind of mope around the house for a few minutes, and then distract myself by having a congratulatory cup of coffee.) I have to remind myself that each rejection means that there's another agency I can send it to, another chance. Even J.K. Rowling got rejected... I bet all those agencies who did that are kicking themselves now...

    Persistence is everything! Anything is possible in this world, Lil. x