I'm a Dirty Whipping Boy

So, essentially, I've been rejected by nearly everyone lately. If you know anyone who needs to let off a little steam, just have them whip up a little rejection note—something vague, somewhat kind; maybe something like, "It's not you, it's me" or, "Let's still be friends."

I have six rejections sitting on my desk.

Six, you're thinking. That's not very many. But, I offer you this:
  • Six is 66% of the known planets (counting Pluto) in our solar system.

  • Six is the mean age of all first-grade children in the United States.

  • Six is the depth to which corpses may be safely buried.

  • Six is the number of the world given to judgement, Biblically speaking (666), and the number of man in opposition to God.

  • Six is the number of NBA championships Michael Jordan won in his career.

  • Six is 86% percent of the days in a week and the total number of days it (allegedly) required the Bibical God to create the earth (minus his vacation day).

  • Six is the number of cynlinders in many high-performing car engines.

  • Six is the number of players on an indoor volleyball court.

  • Six is 50% of the units in measurements of: months, feet, clocks.

  • Six is one-half the measurement of an American soda can.

  • Six is the atomic number of carbon, from which all living things are created.

So, six can be pretty significant. It's also the total number of consecutive rejections I need to receive before I really start reflecting on what exactly I'm trying to do versus what I'm actually accomplishing, the sum total of parts needed for me to stop and think, Maybe my poems are just bad. And that's okay. A lot of people do think they're bad. But it's also the required number for me to think maybe those other perspectives on my work are a little more important than I'd like to admit.

It might be time for me to take a little disco nap in terms of sending work out. These wounds are still a little raw. I understand the process of editing and don't hold anyone but my own work responsible for this, but it can still sting from time to time. Rejection chips away at you bit by bit. Acceptance—even just one—rebuilds you enough to press on. But when those little loaves of happiness are few and far between, the stomach has no one to blame but the hand.

I just found two more rejections on my dining room table for a grand total of 8. If 6 is a cosmic number, 8 is just downright cruel.


  1. Hey, if they aren't all form rejections you're one up on my last six. At times like this I reread the Tao Te Ching and Rilke's first letter to young Mr. Kappus.

  2. Ouch! 8 rejections is short succession is really awful. It will pass though. Your post prompted my own. You may or not be surprised by some of the stats I figured out after reading your post.

  3. "I believe that the American poet ought to be a tough son of a bitch. He ought to hold his own in this culture on his own terms and not compromise under any circumstances." I think James Dickey said it. Yes, I know, it still sucks!


  4. Well, you're still MY favorite. And the only difference between published writers and unpublished ones are that published folk have more ambition and strength to go through the rejections. So keep going, love - you'll get there again.

  5. P.S. This entry made me laugh and laugh. I wasn't laughing at you - I was delighting in you. :)

  6. Jacob read this post and ansolutely loved it. I came back and read it again. I am not sure if you realize this, but you have a knock-down brilliant poem hiding in this post. I am serious. Perhaps it is time for you to write "Six." Virtually all of your lines are here. All you would have to do is order them in a clever way and slice and dice. Now don't roll your eyes. Just think about it.