Turned down for: freelance jobs and volunteer work; exam admissions and workshop sessions; writing competitions and anthology publications.
Reminded each day: too fat to wear this, too ill to do that.
Told to: leave a house; leave a relationship; leave a college; leave a dream; leave a hope.
Then the Other Day…
…I come across this article: 10 Rejection Letters to Famous People
And I realize: if Walt Disney can be rejected for “lacking imagination” and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” is just another animal story, if Kurt Vonnegut’s writing samples aren’t “compelling enough” and Sylvia Plath’s poetry needs to be cut, if Stephen King’s manuscript is sent back 30 times and if Abraham Lincoln can lose several elections, then I
sure as heck
a year of trying and failing, trying and failing, and learning to live rejected.
And so as a symbol of that resolve I’m sharing a poem about the rejections slips received by arguably the best science fiction author of all time. (Who had a great sense of humor too.)
Dear Asimov, all mental laws
Prove orthodoxy has its flaws.
Consider that eclectic clause
In Kant’s philosophy that gnaws
With ceaseless anti-logic jaws
At all outworn and useless saws
That stick in modern mutant craws.
So here’s your tale (with faint applause).
The words above show ample cause.
Dear Ike, I was prepared
(And, boy, I really cared)
To swallow almost anything you wrote.
But, Ike, you’re just plain shot,
Your writing’s gone to pot,
There’s nothing left but hack and mental bloat.
Take back this piece of junk;
It smelled; it reeked; it stunk;
Just glancing through it once was deadly rough.
But Ike, boy, by and by,
Just try another try.
I need some yams and, kid, I love your stuff.
Dear Isaac, friend of mine,
I thought your tale was fine.
And with merits all a-shine.
It meant a quite full
Friend, of tension
With full measure
Of the pleasure
It is triteful,
That some tiny faults are there.
Perhaps a touch,
And over such
You shouldn’t pine.
So let me say
My pal, my friend,
Your story’s end
Has left me gay
And joyfully composed.
I must confess
(With some distress)
Your story is regretfully enclosed.--Isaac Asimov, "Rejection Slips"