Rejection Comes Easy

if they said come dancing--I always did
if they said come dancing--I always did

“Are you all right?” he asked. We were on a blind date. “You’ll be perfect together,” me friend had said. “He’s tall.”

“Yes,” I said. “I’m all right.”

“Are you cold?”

“I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?”


“And you’re all right?”

“I’m fine. Really.”

“Do you need another blanket?”

“No. I don’t need another blanket. I’m fine. Really. Fine.”

“Because I’ll give you my blanket if you need it.”

“No. Keep your blanket.”

“I don’t mind.”

“I’m okay.”

“You want my jacket?”

“She’s fine!” shouted everyone else on the hayride. “Leave the girl alone.” I heard curses muttered all around us.

But my date wasn’t fine. He was allergic to hay. And two weeks before our freezing hayride his fiance of 4 years had returned the ring. I felt mean-spirited refusing to go out with him again.

Just like I felt mean for the guy who brought me a rose. “Why won’t you go out with me again?” the rose guy, had asked. “That,” I’d said, and pointed to the rose in hand.

Many reasons for rejection are slight. (Though slight may be in the eye of the beholder.)

This one took me to a dance club and then refused to dance.
That one drove a mint-condition Mustang and stroked the dashboard one too many times.
The next one called my graduate school thesis ‘some paper thing’ and changed the subject.
And the other one had a dildo tangled up in the net of a basketball hoop in his living room.

You just never know what will make the girl leave, do you?

When you send your fiction out into the world, you never know what might make the reader leave you before you even get started. Or what it is that gets the reader to stay. Hey, some girls like Mustangs and basketball.

Who’s your audience?

7 thoughts on “Rejection Comes Easy

  1. LOL, the dildo in the net was unexpected. I don’t know ahead of time who will like my work, so I just throw it as far as I can and see what it sticks to. 😉

  2. An interesting thing about those examples, to me anyhow, is that I can easily imagine another girl’s being amused by (for example) a girlfriend’s room decorated with a net-entangled dildo. Not saying that would be your reaction, of course, but it’s probably one of those “one man’s meat…” debates. (Which is probably a sane way to deal with writing rejections, too.)

    Hard to put a finger on who the audience is, exactly. I know there are many strangers in the world who read the same books and authors I do, appreciate the same movies, all that. I just hope the undercurrent of cultural influences on me will result in a work which appeals not just to me, but to all those strangers, too.

    (Of course, there’s the short-term goal to be accomplished first: finding an agent and an editor among that crowd of strangers, who are in a position to introduce the work to all the others.)

  3. I think I always think my audience is my college writing community. My professors, my classmates, some of whom were so talented…I know at least one is now a real and bona fide published writer.

    When I think about publishing, I think about what they would say. Sometimes I wonder if they think science fiction is slumming. We all wrote very literary fiction, you see. I think that’s one of the reasons I stayed away from science fiction and fantasy for so long, despite it being my first love.

    I think about my poetry, too, and it always seems mediocre to me. Oh yeah, I was the editor of the Lit Mag, so I am afraid that I haven’t/don’t live up to the hype.

    But interestingly, my major advisor told me that my prose was “crackling.” Yes. I still remember the word she used. And here I am blogging every day. I should have picked her for my poetry honor’s project, instead of the guy who dumped me because I was too much work. He never even wanted to work on the project I really wanted. Oh well. hindsight, and all.

    And I recognize that I am probably very harsh on my poetry because I was rejected by my advisor. Steve Kuusisto! You screwed me! (ahem. well, you asked about my audience, and there it is, my audience of my personal gremlin.) Wait, maybe he’s the one who called my prose “crackling?”

    As for dates. One guy said I used the word “society” too much. Last date for him.

  4. As you know, I met my husband on I remember communicating with one guy who had listed himself as divorced, and when I asked for how long, he said, “Two weeks.” He just couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t go out with him.

    I’ve always thought my audience is probably more women and maybe women who like Southern fiction, but other than that, I have no idea.

  5. The funny thing about that question is, if you look at the diversity in my followers alone for my journal, it’s quite obvious I don’t exactly fall under any one demographic. I think when you limit yourself to one type of fan base, you limit your writing as well. For me it’s writing with a depth that appeals to everyone in some degree. Even though I’m a woman, I want a man to feel my words just as strongly. (Hugs)Indigo

  6. Shelly, it’s a good thing you’re a great audience.

    Sherri, I like the idea of throwing it as far as you can. What else can we do? Let it stay at our feet?

    JES, certain details depend on where you find them, that is for sure. And for me the “a” in “audience” is for “agent.”

    rowena, I’ve got that kind of audience from my past too. That’s helpful in some ways, but maybe not always the audience we need. Our true audience may be better!

    shelli, I’ve mixed feelings about whether one should know one’s audience. It can help give focus to the work, but it can hem you in too.

    Oh, Indigo, I want my work to appeal to women AND men too. But from what I see of publishing, appealing to both isn’t the current marketing strategy. What exactly is this women’s fiction category supposed to be anyway?

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