I'd blogged before about how I've been learning to live with rejection. By now, I've learned to happily expect it. This is a good thing -- it means my hopes and dreams have been crushed so much that there's no longer anything to crush. When I start reading that letter that begins with "we're sorry your submission was not accepted..." I can't be too disappointed. I'm grateful for the experience, and I take a deep breath and move on to the next one.
That's why I was surprised last week, when I opened my inbox to find that the expected rejection letter didn't seem to be a rejection letter at all. I read it over and over again, thinking maybe it was a typo, and they accidentally spelled “rejected” like “accepted,” or if perhaps it was a joke, my submission being so bad that instead of sending me the typical rejection letter they teased me with a mock acceptance one. I looked for the part that said “just kidding!” and instead I found words like “congratulations.” I was confused.
But it turns out it wasn’t a typo, I think. It turns out they actually want me to read a poem at Quiet Lightning, which is happening during Litcrawl, the last night of Litquake. And they’re publishing said poem in this zine. It turns out not everything I submit will necessarily be rejected, which gives me a glimmer of hope I thought might never return.
This is an exciting time of year for San Franciscans. The sun’s coming out in some parts of the city, there are festivals every weekend, and book nerds everywhere can salivate over their favorite writers during Litquake. I’m incredibly thrilled to be reading, and incredibly honored, both because it takes place during Litquake and because I know Quiet Lightning features talented writers, after attending their events before.
I’m not sure if they know what they’re getting themselves into, including me as a part of this event. But I’m really glad to be a part of it, to lend my voice where folks like me might not ordinarily be heard. That’s an important part of the process, if I want to write to make change – not just to write but to be heard.
The reading is next Saturday, October 9 (details here, under “Litquake Lightning”). There will be a whole lot of other exciting events happening at the same time, but if you can, come see me read. I’ll be the one trembling on the stage. But then again, I suppose the whole city will be quaking.