Rejection and Failed Love Stories

Between the time I shut the door behind him and the time he kissed me goodbye, other stories happened.

My friends decided I needed to date. Find someone to kiss, they said. Find someone to prove I’m attractive, I thought.

I kissed the guy I met at the bar. He immediately talked about his bearskin rug, and I decided one kiss was enough. “Are you seeing someone else?” he asked.


“You must be seeing someone else or you’d say yes,” he said.

“Perhaps I’d rather be alone than be with you,” I said. He didn’t call back.

There was the guy who a friend set me up with. He wore jeans, tennis shoes, and a plaid shirt. He drove a pick up that needed steps to climb in and that had a gun rack. He said he was disappointed I wasn’t wearing a skirt. At Denny’s I didn’t tell him about my Master’s thesis or my invitation to the Peace Corps. I said, “That’s interesting.” I said, “Really?” I said, “Oh.” I think the only sentence I said with a subject and a verb was, “I’d like to have the number six, please.” He told me I was the most fascinating girl he’d ever met. I kissed him goodnight and didn’t return his calls.

I was at the library and ran into an acquaintance. He suggested we go get a beer. At the bar was my tactophobe ex with his new girlfriend. Of course, I entertained the idea of getting my acquaintance to kiss me then, but just asked him if we could sit in the other room.

Every time I told someone the name of my tactophobe’s new girlfriend, they would say, “Oh, her. She drinks. A lot.” Ah, well, I thought. He drank. Maybe that’s what he wanted. Though I’d gotten drunk with him more than once, and it never worked for me.

In this picture I’m telling two friends the underwear story. This is after the bearskin rug guy, the Denny’s guy, and the acquaintance, but before the end. In fact, the ex is around the corner in the kitchen–getting drunk. But I love telling a story. Some stories make some people sit up and listen, while others say, “No. I don’t like stories like that.” I love how K’s girlfriend leans back as if she wants no part of story that involves tiger-striped bikini underwear and a dumpster at Wal-mart.

telling the underwear story to friends
telling the underwear story to friends

D. and his date were fascinated though, and I made us all laugh.

Some people will like your stories. Some people won’t.

I finished my novel tonight. I danced. I think I may dance some more.

Some people will like my novel.
Some people will, well, turn away.

So, how do you feel about rejection?

14 thoughts on “Rejection and Failed Love Stories

  1. Thank you. When I say finish, I confess that I know it’s not done. Meaning, if anyone should look at it, they may say what it is missing, where it fails, and so on. But for me the story is told.

    Now, back to novel was working on before…

  2. Oh, I am glad you’re happy for me, but I’m too exhausted. Not for the dancing, mind you, but the fear–the fear that I’ve written a very bad book and all the forthcoming rejection will be roundly deserved.

    I don’t know why I do this myself, or what to do to stop the rampant neurosis. Any suggestions?

  3. Whoa. Way to slip the important information almost into a footnote waaaay down at the bottom. 🙂

    Adding my congratulations, also my (spastic and entirely virtual) Snoopy dance on your behalf.

    Regarding the neurosis, two suggestions (aside from finding something else to think about for a week or two):

    (1) remember The Sh!tbird, and how to handle him; and

    (2) tack this post’s photograph up somewhere near your monitor, where you’ll see it when you sit back to think during revisions. It should serve to remind you what an engaging storyteller you are. (Even K’s girlfriend — she may be leaning back, but she’s not plugging her ears or trying to distract him (and herself) with a side-conversation.)

    Go, girl.

  4. Try to remember too, that exhaustion amplifies everything, including fear. My worst fears arise when I wake at three am. IAnd finishing a novel means exhaustion!!!
    I’m in the midst of sending out query letters and have already received two rejections- but when the fear starts to overwhelm I try to remember to a) start writing something else because writing is where I feel most myself and b) use those touchstones that relieve the fear- like stuffed animals and tea and re-reading a well-loved book….

  5. You finished!? I gasped when I read that. What an awesome accomplishment! YAYAYAYAYAY.

    You’re just crashing from the adrenaline or something. There is NO WAY you are a bad writer, nor is there any way your book is a bad book. It might be messy still, but it is not bad. I have not read it, of course, but I’ve seen your other site, and I can’t go back there, because I do not have time to get sucked into that world and lose hours at a time. I only have nap time to get things done. That’s how good a writer you are, because I can’t turn away when I start reading you. And I am picky. I like work of all genres, both high and low, but it better be good, or I don’t bother.

    Someone on a blog somewhere asked who my favorite writers were (it might have been katelordbrown) and I do believe I said you were one of them. So stick that in your insecurity and chew on it.

    Take some time off. Do non writing things. Work on your other book. Read fun things. Don’t look at your book when it (and the fear) is still fresh. take a break. And holy fricking congratulations.

  6. rowena, I shouldn’t have read your comment while I was eating lunch. I nearly choked on my soup.

    thank you sarah. I’m on my way for some de-stress time now!


    What does rejection mean? It means you finished something – many people don’t ever do that.

    This was a good reminder – yes, some people will like our stories, other’s won’t. I doubt I’d care for people who don’t like our stories, Marta.

    You are an awesome writer. You are not working for nothing.

  8. I need to make time to read that finished novel now! I hate rejection, with a passion. I’m rejection phobic. It’s why I don’t submit things for publication. I’ve found that just one nasty comment on a blog post can ruin a hundred praises and keep me up at night beating myself up for not being better. Bleh to rejection. Fortunately you won’t be getting any of it from me. 🙂

  9. Pingback: In love? We have a form for that. « writing in the water

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