Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last night I received yet another form rejection from Night Train. This morning brought yet another rejection from Smokelong Quarterly. I so love and admire these magazines, their editors and the great writers and memorable works they publish. I've received a long string of rejections from both mags and each one hurts a little more, feeds my insecurity.

You know what I did in the last hour? I made peace with my disappointment and insecurity, and accepted the rejections. Because these rejections, and the acceptance on Tuesday from Potomac Review, on some higher level that really matters none of it matters. It has to be about the work. I need to tattoo "the work" onto my palm.

Going forward, I am determined to take a long break from submitting my work. I work incredibly hard at my writing, but I need to be more disciplined around submitting and not allow myself get sucked into the craziness. I want to produce less and spend more time on each work. I want to live with my work longer and love it with all I've got before I even attempt to send it out into the world. I am going on record on this to further bolster my resolve. Editors, feel feel to call me out and throw me to the masses if I stray anytime soon!

We have an incredible community, and I am so honored and excited to be a part of it all. This blog began in January, 2009. I had no idea where it would take me, the writers and editors I would get to know and work with. The amount of work I would write, revise, and publish. I have always tried to dedicate this space not just to my work, but to promote other writers and their fine works. I plan to read much more and to focus on other writers' work even more in 2010 at my new home

I am reluctant to mention anyone for fear of leaving people out, but I would be remiss if I did not say a huge thank you to the following incredible, beautiful, and gifted people for the myriad of ways they've inspired me and touched my life this year: Roxane Gay, Meg Pokrass, Kathy Fish, Lauren Becker, Molly Gaudry, Laura Ellen Scott, Erin Fitzgerald, Michelle Reale, Katrina Denza, Tanita Davis, Robin Stratton, Peter Cole, Scott Garson, Randall Brown, Matt Bell, Steve Himmer, David Erlewine, Mel Bosworth, Eric Beeny, Jason Jordan, Greg Gerke, and Andrew Roe. So many others from Zoe and Fictionaut too. If I have forgotten anyone, please forgive me.

And to every other editor and reader who ever accepted or rejected my work, thank you. Thank you for taking the time and care to read my work and for the love, passion, commitment, and vision you bring to your magazines and our community.

To everyone who reads this blog, and to those who post comments regularly, thank you so much for your time and interest. I am deeply grateful.

Rock on.


  1. Right back at you, Ethel!

    "It has to be about the work." Amen.

  2. Had to read that first paragraph several times to make sure I hadn't written it.

    You've been so very cool, especially during my rough times. Thank you, thank you.

  3. Thanks, Andrew and Laura. Laura, you crack me up

  4. Night Train and Smokelong are two of my faves, two that I am determined to one day crack into. Truth be told, I've sort of given up on Smokelong but I've learned to never say never :)

    I'm so looking forward to things getting back to "normal" in January, after the hubub of the holidays, the craziness, the going, going, going... when I can curl up with a cup of tea and get back to writing.

    Congrats to you on your acceptance at Potomac!

  5. "...accepted the rejections." Wonderful wordplay, wonderfully philosophical post, Ethel. I'm big happy to know you...

  6. Good luck, Ethel. That'd be a nice tattoo. ;)