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in case you’re keeping score

July 27, 2009

I received acceptance via email yesterday.

Well, not Acceptance, with a capital “a,” but an acceptance. In case you’re keeping score (I am, clearly), I’m pretty sure the last couple months have delivered the following: rejections from three journals and acceptances from three. Here’s to hoping the work that’s still out there tips the scale in my favor.

All in all, despite how gloomy I can get after a rejection, I feel very lucky.

* ** *

For example, I’m so lucky that yesterday I had the chance to drink some wine while sitting alone in a restaurant. I love doing that. Some people hate it, but I love it.

And I’m so lucky that before the wine, I watched the 6th Harry Potter movie (The Half Blood Prince) with Ben and Jack. I really loved it. I haven’t loved any of the other movies. It’s still shocking (DON’T READ ON if you haven’t, by some freak of nature, read the series) that Dumbledore dies. Although for the full growth of Harry he had to die, of course, it’s still shocking to remember it and witness it. And see your kids witness it. But this kind of literary (and silver screen) death is the stuff that helps your heart develop. At least that’s what I think. And I’m glad they’re “into” it.

And I’m so lucky that after the wine, Jill and I had a writing date at the Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble. We shopped for a few books, ordered some coffee and sat down to write. I started a series on board games; she started one on sex-crazed encounters at the grocery store. I know! She’s fabulous. I’m totally the ugly stepsister.

* ** *

But still I feel lucky. When I left our date, I had to walk a long way to the car. The mall that houses the store is hugely popular and there’s never enough parking. When I got to the car, I had an idea for a poem, opened my journal and began writing. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a man standing over me at the driver’s window.

He was saying something and motioning for me to roll down the window. Something about him wasn’t right. Or else my gut was all off, but I’m typically a fair judge of situations. I rely on instinct almost always.

I’m lucky because even though the van wasn’t running yet and it would have taken me a bit to pull away (think horror movie scene in which the car won’t stop or go into gear or whatever), my door was locked. My habit is to lock the door the instant I get in. I’m also lucky because something told me to risk being rude and refuse to roll down the window even a bit. So I shook my head, no. He glared at me for a couple seconds and walked off.

He may have wanted to tell me something helpful, like I had toilet paper on my shoe or that something was wrong with one of my tires. He may have needed money. (If he was “a good guy,” he’ll understand that he scared me and I won’t have offended him.) Or he may have been up to no good, in which case the safety rules we’ve internalized without even knowing can help — if we’re lucky. Lock your doors. Don’t roll down the window. Get to a populated area.

I’m not as tough as I claim to be. I was unnerved by it. But I did the right thing. And I drove to a different part of the parking lot and finished writing down my idea. After all of that, let’s hope the idea ends up being worth something!

  1. July 28, 2009 12:47 pm

    Wow! If the dynamic dup had been there together–that is, you AND Me, we could totally have taken that _________. (i’m lovin the ________!) Seriously, that is so scary. And you did the exact right thing. That’s what all those forwarded emails from my mother always tell me! I don’t know if i would have had the smarts to remember not to be polite.

    You forgot to mention how totally awesome you were to give me the very poetry book out of your “to buy” pile! Yes, folks, she shared. A poetry book!

  2. July 28, 2009 1:24 pm

    PS: It is a very clever way to motivate your challenge partner: make public the challenge! I just wrote a new sex/superhero poem. It is on my blog. Big fat check-mark on my to-do list!

  3. July 28, 2009 5:10 pm

    If this was baseball, a .500 average would be pretty damn hot. Like, something no one ever achieves (except briefly in a hot streak.) This being poetry, it’s considerably more incredible. Or would be, if I didn’t know the quality of the poems going out πŸ™‚

  4. July 28, 2009 9:53 pm

    here’s what i did with the poetry book: i said, you can buy it. i’ll borrow it from you. so i was kind enough to “let” jill pay for a book i wanted to read. how kind of me! (both of us could probably benefit from spending more time at the library and less time at the book store and hair salon.)

    jill, let’s go out soon for ______ and _______. and talk about plans to find _______ worthy of our _________.*

    dale, my “real” poetry batting average is considerably lower, meaning if you match up the submissions with the rejections. it just so happens that the last responses for the couple of months have come in even. (for a non-math person, i seem skilled at making the stats tell the story i need to tell.) but thank you, thank you, for having a good amount of faith in my poems. πŸ™‚

  5. July 28, 2009 9:54 pm

    *for the record and to cleanse our souls from any dirty minds in the house, the blanks are as follows: sushi, beer, journals, poems.

  6. July 29, 2009 9:09 am

    Great acceptance rate, but it’s not surprising. Your poems are so layered and full. I love them all, and I mean it. I will definitely give your first book as a gift to my friends. (We have to think ahead about those gifts.)

    Thank God you didn’t roll down the window, and that you kept your head. Most women have one of ‘those stories’ of close calls. It’s tough, because our first impulse is to be polite, ‘nice,’ and helpful.

    Oh, I love your poem up at Fiona’s today. It’s very much in your style.

  7. July 29, 2009 2:26 pm

    Hey, way to go, that’s an excellent rate of acceptance, more than enough to keep you sane!!!! As for the spine-tingling story, eek, that would have freaked me right out.


  8. July 30, 2009 12:51 pm

    My acceptance rate is not even above the Mendoza Line, so you should count yourself quite fortunate. And very, very good at what you do.

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