Most people were shouting and waving signs. It was a rainy, cold November day and I was standing in front of the Texas White House. I had no sign. I didn’t shout. I held my umbrella.
One man had a bullhorn. He was tall and thin. Maybe in his 50s. He was part of the other side.
I don’t really like to go to marches and protests. No matter how I emotional I can get when talking to a friend about an issue, I can’t make myself shout in a crowd. I stand on the edge and kind of smile at the people I’m supposed to shout along with.
So, I stood in the drizzle thinking about the Texas Book Festival going on around the corner and if going to such events makes me a better participant in democracy or a silly person standing in the cold. And this man marched over to me, put the bullhorn against the side of my head, and shouted.
Pain shot through my ear. I jerked away, hands to my ears, and my friend beside me, all 4’11” of her, pushed him back. They shouted at each. Their words were lost in the bells clanging in my head.
I’ve been lucky how nice people have been to me here on my little edge of cyberspace. But the more anyone puts herself out into the world, the more likely she will have someone shout obscenities or insults or, indeed, criticisms. This is not a new observation, of course. It’s on my mind because I’ve got query letters, an MFA application, and art I’m trying to sell… It’s like I want to be shouted at. And whatever it is I’m saying with my work, does it need to be said? Can it make a difference?
That November day protest didn’t make any difference except to my ears.
Rejection is exhausting. Pick yourself up. Dust self off. Put the best spin on it. Learn a valuable lesson. Keep going. Repeat.