“I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing.  They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, “To hell with you.”  Saul Bellow

Ummm… right.  I’d like to believe this, just as I’d like to believe that whatever doesn’t kill me will make me stronger.  I’m afraid it’s more likely that I’ll end up a wilted little blob of humanity with as much backbone and motivation as a jelly fish. 

Remember those toys we had when we were kids – the ones you inflated that stood on a heavy base, and you could punch ’em and knock ’em down as often as you wanted and they’d just bob back up and take another hit?  Since about the beginning of November, I’ve been feeling like one of those.  Never staying down for long, but taking multiple hits from a wide variety of players.

Here’s the brief summary:

My partner, the wonderful man in my life, started having health problems and then got laid off.  My work partner left our agency to go in search of other things, and due to the economy his position was not refilled.  Now there are two of us covering the Crisis Team, instead of three, sort of more of a Crisis Duo, if you will.  One of the kids developed a (completely non life threatening) medical condition which requires monthly trips into the nearest city,  a turn around trip of about 5 hours.  Our house decided to develop some issues which will require repairs.

It’s a stage, I’ve been telling myself.  This will pass, it will get better, you’ve been through tougher times than these.  All very true, and I continue to have many blessings for which to be grateful.  However, it’s been increasingly difficult to find the time and motivation to write. 

Yesterday, I ran into the invisible but impassable wall.  In the last week or so, 9 out of 10 days in a row were spent either at work or on call.  Company.  The trip to Spokane.  And suddenly, I ran up against the emptiness of burnout.  This was, of course, the perfect day to get a rejection letter.  Not just any rejection letter, either, but the one from the agent who had graciously requested a partial.

It was a kind letter.  This agent, Pamela Ahearn of the Ahearn Agency, was prompt and professional.  She’d actually read what I sent her, and took the time to comment on why she’d chosen to pass.  She even said something nice about my writing.

I had a moment where I wanted to scream and cry and throw things, which was actually a positive thing, as the burnt out feeling of the day was complete numbness and apathy.

And then a curious thing happened.  I’d sworn off writing for the day, tired of fighting for time and motivation.  But I suddenly needed to write – to reaffirm the creative fire, to keep the momentum going, to refuse to give up in the face of adversity.  I was sitting here at my laptop, tapping away, when my 13 year old son came in.  He looked at me like he’d caught me sneaking cookies out of the jar, grinned, and said, “I thought you weren’t writing today.”

Well.  I guess it’s a habit I can’t give up, published or unpublished, on the down side of fortune’s wheel or not.  And so I guess Saul Bellow’s words are true for me, after all – in the face of adversity and resistance and rejection I will continue to wave my puny little fists and shout, “to hell with you!”

And just keep on writing.