Just as four stages of grief accompany a major loss, MomBrain is here to tell you about the stages of emotion that accompany writerly rejection. This is because a Senior Editor at a Very Large Magazine in NYC has informed MomBrain that her writing is awkward, terrible, uninformative, and bad (her exact words). Then she killed my piece and told me not to contact her ever again.
The last person who rained editorial brimstone around my ears was Mr. W, my 11th grade English teacher who failed my term paper because I was obviously a plagiarist. (How else to explain the use of the word "bucolic," which no 17-year-old would know?) He never did believe me, and only grudgingly raised my grade to a D when I offered to change the word to "pastoral."
But I digress. I have spent the last week gazing at my belly button, crying in my soup, and shaking my fist, remembering every editorial slight I have ever suffered. But I did not waste this experience - oh, no! As every writer knows (even us bad ones), everything is material. So I took notes, just for you. If you are a writer and an editor rejects your work, you may experience the following emotions:
STAGE 1: Disbelief. (What the?) You may experience numbness, shock, or a prolonged out-of-body feeling. MomBrain floated above her own head for several hours.
STAGE 2: Suicidal Intent. (I suck.) Humiliation and self-loathing may accompany visions of your writing tacked to a lunchroom bulletin board, with a pack of editors splashing ramen noodle broth on it as they double over laughing. This may be a good time to ask your partner to hide all sharp objects.
STAGE 3: Murderous Rage. (You suck.) How much does a hit man cost? Does her boss know she treats writers this way? Is it worth $18 to deliver dead roses? Again, hide the sharp objects.
STAGE 4: Peace that passeth understanding. (Om.) You begin to believe your friends who tell you how wonderful you are, even if they are liars. You resolve to take the high road, be the professional, and refuse to stoop to her level. "The best revenge is writing well!!!" you crow, and drag out the novel you started and abandoned during the last NaNoWriMo.
STAGE 5: Reckless abandon. (Screw serenity.) You've already burned the bridge, so what the hell. You blog about it, although you are not so reckless as to name names. Or in Mr. W's case, you give him regular coffee instead of decaf the next time he eats where you waitress part-time.