Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I drove to work this morning.
It's hard to face no after no after no. Really makes a mark on your confidence, like graffiti on a building adding up to ugly.
I'm learning, though.
Whether you stare down no nine times or seventeen times or twenty-one times, all it takes is one yes to erase it all. Gone. Forgotten. Meaningless.
I'm talking about stories I've written and rejection letters I've received.
All it took was one journal to say yes to "What She Said."
One to say yes to "Don't Stop Now."
And now one to say yes to "Pray for Rain."
This time there's even prize money involved as "Pray for Rain" has just been named the winner of the Blue Mesa Review fiction contest and will be included in Issue 21, due out in May.
But more important than any prize, large or small, is knowing that someone gets your story. That they understand the nuances that others missed.
So I'd like to say thank you to the good folks at the Beloit Fiction Journal, Hobart, Blue Mesa Review, and Inkwell Management (final judges of the contest).
For me the frustration of no upon no melted away this morning in a delayed reaction of sudden tears as Bruce Springsteen sang, "It's been a long time coming, my dear. It's been a long time coming, but now it's here."
I was singing, too, at the top of my lungs.
No is an imposter.