You know you’re having a rough week when the only good news you get is coming from the IRS and the DMV.
Normally I hate, fear, and despise these two agencies—even though, as I think of it, neither one has ever done any harm to me personally.
Still, I’m terrified of bureaucracies because they wield so much power and speak in so much gibberish.
I worry that I’ll hand in my tax return or my driver’s license renewal and some mid-level paper pusher in the bowels of a massive gray building will find some minor glitch, some little thing that I forgot to do and I’ll be sent off to a FEMA slave labor camp in the Catskills.
Well, it turns out I worried for nothing. Both of these agencies did the right thing--I got my tax refund and my new driver’s license in the space of two days. Did I say “mid-level paper pushers?” Sorry, I meant “dedicated public servants.”
Unfortunately, these events collided head-on with some intense disappointments.
I’ve recently completed a novel and I’m trying to find an agent to represent me. I’ve heard all the stories about how people were rejected 12,000 times before one agent recognized their talent and I thought I could handle the long list of “thanks, but no thanks” responses. Every "no" means you're one step closer to "yes," or so I've been told.
However, nothing prepared me for being rejected by three different agents--on the very same day. It seems that every "no" brought me one step closer to the next goddamn "no."
This was a disaster, a clown-car pile-up, a never-ending nightmare that got worse every time I checked my email.
"Stop the Fight!"
It started in the morning when an agent I really thought would like my work—he had a nice face—gave me the brush 10 hours after I made my submission.
A short time later I got another rejection and then, early in the afternoon, it happened one more time. As my father used to say in his best bogus brogue, "take me coach out, I've had enough!"
I couldn’t believe it. I was actually feeling nostalgic for the Post Office—another agency I don’t like.
E-mail has made the process of submitting material much easier. Just a few clicks and your work is on its way, an incalculable improvement over the old self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) days when you had to trundle down to the post office and explain to the genius behind the counter that you need twice the postage so you could get the damn thing back.
But now that making submissions is easier, so is rejection and multiple submissions can quickly turn into multiple invitations to take a flying leap.
So I’m looking at my new driver’s license now and I’m thinking the photo actually goes back to the days before I even had a computer.
I still have that ring of fuzz around my skull and since I started shaving my head sometime around 1999 or 2000 then…wow, that’s a really old picture.
I remember when I got my license renewed eight years ago and thought that 2012 seemed so far away. Surely I’d be published by then, I thought. Now the license has been extended to 2020 and I still haven't been published.
Unlike that photo, I’m the one getting older—kind of like a reverse Dorian Gray.
I’m not going to look to 2020—my eyes are getting older, too. I’m just going to concentrate on sending out that next submission.
I won’t give up and I won’t get discouraged—even if they do send me to the Catskills.