I got rejected today.
Back in December, I applied for a couple of long-term writing residencies/fellowships. I heard from Phillips Exeter Academy today, which was the one I really, really wanted, since it was an ideal setup for me and my family. I guess they received over 300 submissions this year; that’s twice the number I’d anticipated. I was hoping to at least get short-listed. No dice there, either.
Of course I’m sad about it. While part of me knew I wouldn’t get it my first time out, the rest of me was quite hopeful, right up to the moment earlier today when I dropped everything I was carrying and tore open the letter, on the sidewalk in front of my house. But I know that rejections are as much a part of this writing life as the acceptances and publications; after all, how can we ever improve if we are accepted every time we submit?
Today I got my first rejection letter; it means I’m working. It means I’m trying to be better. It means I’m sending out pieces of myself to be judged. And that’s brave. To the first of many, and to my new motto: