Day 10: On Being Canadian, Absurd, and On the Wagon

I was thinking about that first* rejection I received on Day 6 and the thought went through my head: “I’m happy about rejections because at least that means they’re receiving and reading my query.” Which, come to think of it, is kind of like saying: he didn’t ask you out because he finds you ugly, not because he didn’t notice you. Okay, you know what? Scratch that first sentence. Moving on…

So on day 8 I went a little wild and entered my short story One More Time in the Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Competition. Why was that move wild, you may ask? Because I shelled out 25 big ones to enter. (Big ones as in 25 bucks, not 25,000 bucks.)  Since 99% of my submissions are gratis, I don’t mind spending money on submission fees now and again.

On day 9 my brother told me of a Canadian short story competition and besides an exact word count of no less than 1200 and no more than 1500, the only criteria is that you must be a Canadian citizen. Finally, being a Canuck is coming in handy! I sent in a short story called Misconceptions, about three separate guys’ wildly differing perceptions of the same woman at a bar.

As always, I read some of the previous winners to see if my story had even the remotest chance of being seriously considered. You can write the best story in the world, but if the tone is not in alignment with the person judging your work, you might as well have submitted a crouton.

A lot of my work tends to have a sense of humor sprinkled throughout. I would never consider my stories as outright comedies or even humorous stories, though I do tend to see the world, including my own experiences, through the filter of absurdity or dark humor. But it seems as though in the literary world comedy in fiction is akin to elbowing a senior citizen out of the reserved seats at the front of the bus. This is all to say: I’m not sure if my submission stands a chance with CBC Books. So much for my Canadian citizenship paying off.

Yesterday (still day 9) I didn’t actually submit anything. I ran out of time and so I made two submissions today. I will admit to feeling a bit like a sober alcoholic who eats a piece of rum cake and then has a moment of panic about whether he’s about to fall off the wagon.

One of the reasons for this 30 submissions in 30 days challenge is that I can start something like this with the best intentions, get off to an excellent start, even go past the midpoint, and then one day when something (perhaps legitimately, perhaps not) throws me off course, poof! I’m down for the count. And then I get to wallow in the “oh poor me,” “this is never going to happen for me,” “shit like this always happens,” etc. I’m telling you, it’s as painful as bungee jumping with a piece of floss tied to your ankle to admit all this stuff.  

Today (day 10) in addition to submitting to the CBC short fiction contest, I sent one of my novels, Rumors of Happiness, to literary agent Sandy Harding at Spencerhill Associates. I guess I should be thankful for my involuntary celibacy these days, because at least it’s freeing up my time for all these submissions. If it were a choice between mind-blowing sex and bracing myself for rejections, guess which one I’d choose?

Okay, time to sign off now. You know when you start discussing your non-existent sex life in a blog about writing it’s time to pack it in for the night.

* Note: this is not the first rejection I’ve received ever, just the first one I received during this 30 submissions in 30 days challenge. I honestly can’t count how many rejections I’ve gotten before this month. 25? 50? 75? All over the course of probably 10 years or so.