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Rejection Dream
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I had a dream about having manuscripts rejected. For some reason I dropped by an unspecified editorial office to inquire about some mysterious materials Mary and I had sent. (Don't blame me for the vagueness -- I'm just recounting the dream. It is amazing how dreams make so much sense out of so little detail.) A young woman I didn't know, but who I knew to be the editor, went over to a shelf and I heard her tear open an envelope. (No, I'm not sure why I couldn't see what she was doing.) Obviously she hadn't even looked at the submission yet.

Some way or other I'd come to be seated at a desk and in a moment this editor plopped down three manuscripts in front of me, with a comment to the effect that well, you can see what we thought of this, sorry. (And in a very dismissive and nasty tone indeed!) Instead of rejection slips, however, each manuscript was rubber banded to a six inch thick bundle of old fashioned computer printouts.

Oddly, Mary and I have not had a ton of rejections the last few years but the lack of insults is mostly due to our not getting enough work out. We've concentrated on a book for our publisher every year and stories only if we're asked. (Although there are still enough agents to be approached that we have not been deprived of the rejection experience entirely.)

What I take the dream to indicate is that one never entirely recovers from thirty years of rejection slips. After a certain number of futile submissions one can build up an expectation of rejection that no amount of success completely eradicates.

Either that or I am prescient. I really hope this dream isn't an omen. However, if it is, maybe by writing this I've set myself up for a more profitable career as a pyschic.

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