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You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Posted by Priscilla on September 4, 2013

150_button_0290.jpgIn my wild pursuit of collecting as many rejections for my manuscript as Kathryn Stockton garnered for The Help (50? 60?), I have racked up thirty-four. The latest came via email yesterday.  Every time a rejection notice lands through the mail slot, whether virtual or real, I get the privilege of thinking about rejection.

Have you ever met a man or woman, boy or girl, who had not been rejected in some way?  I didn’t think so. Even if by chance there is someone out there who says, “Why no. I’ve succeeded at everything I’ve put my hand to,” I would venture to say that he (she?) is petrified, at least, of the possibility of being rejected. To be rejected is, after all, human.

The best mirror I know to real life is the funnies page in the daily newspaper. 

And what do we find there? The good man, Charlie Brown, for starters. Kind and sweet, and sensitive, and, we all realize, a complete loser.  And then there’s poor Pig from Pearls Before Swine, clueless Satchel from Get Fuzzy, and even Dagwood Bumstead. The comics are full of characters that are mocked, scorned, and abused. Rejected.

In the comics, one-upsmanship is turned into a deadly game, but we chuckle because the comics lay bare our basest selves and our greatest fears.

Rejection often feels like a big NO is writ large over our lives, as if everything we touch crumbles into dust. When one job turns us down or one person says no thank you, we think the universe has laughed. We begin to believe that nothing has ever worked or will ever work again. We feel like Charlie Brown, Satchel, Pig and Dagwood all rolled into one.

Is this reality? Most likely not. Have we really failed, washed out, gotten fired, gotten stuck at everything?

Here’s what’s true.

  1. Every person (that means you, and you, and you) has a place to stand, a place where you will be accepted and loved. Your quest is to find that place.
  2. Every person has a voice that needs to be heard. Your voice is your sword with which you will slay the dragons.
  3. Every person has a place where you don’t belong, where your voice will be crushed.  Your mission is to leave that place.
  4. Every person (you) is responsible for providing safety for others who are coming along behind you. You do not want to be Lucy. You must not be a Bucky Katt or Rat.

Rejection? Eh. Who cares—I’m only up to thirty-four. I’ve got twenty-six left to go.

Wish me luck.

 

Comments:

Posted by Susan on
I'm glad you aren't giving up. Your mission is NOT to leave this place. You have a good story and you'll find the person to publish it!
Posted by Erin Unger on
I'm building a pile of rejections too, and your right, it's hard not to get discouraged. May I take on the same attitude you have and keep treking along. Thanks for the post.
Posted by Terri Gillespie on
Don't give up, Pris! You are an amazing writer! Do understand the discouragement--I stopped counting after 10, it was too painful.
Posted by Priscilla Strapp on
I find rejections from literary agents to be like little black gnats that I wave away. How can I say that? Perhaps because l'm on a quest to collect at least sixty (check in next year). Perhaps because I have adopted the practice of thankfulness for everything that comes my way each day, good or bad.
Posted by Susan on
Ah - this struck a cord w/ me: "Have you ever met a man or woman, boy or girl, who had not been rejected in some way? I didn’t think so. Even if by chance there is someone out there who says, “Why no. I’ve succeeded at everything I’ve put my hand to,” I would venture to say that he (she?) is petrified, at least, of the possibility of being rejected." I have some students in my freshmen honor's English at a top, top, top university who live daily with that fear. They've ridden the top of the wave so far - - but when will they crash. I pray to teach them grace as well as English. It's only living enfolded in grace that we can bare rejection - - even from ourselves
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