Rejection, rejection, wherefore art thou?

Oh yeah. You’re in my inbox, therefore my words exist.

I’ve been sending out queries for one of my novels, a literary sci-fi titled The Quantum Archives. I’ve revised it four times, but it could probably stand some more attention. Even so, the other day I received a nibble from an agent (she wanted more pages), then she rejected the manuscript.

The weirdest thing about being a writer? You are totally convinced people want to read your words. I mean, sure, there’s the niggling doubt, the worry that your writing sucks coupled with a lot of frantic revision, but ultimately, to be a writer you have to be completely certain that what you’re writing is something other people will want to read. It’s a weird contradiction—all that insecurity mixed up with confidence. And it seems like it would be easy to freak out and give up; I’m a serious pessimist, after all, but when it really comes down to it, I can’t give up. I love writing too much. The work itself is a joy and that’s enough to keep me writing, convinced that somehow, someday, someone else will read the words I type and enjoy them.

The Quantum Archives made it to the semi-finals in the Black Lawrence Press Black River Chapbook Competition. I’ve since rewritten it as a novel and am still hopeful it will find its way to readers someday. Here’s a peek at the first page:

Sarah, my sister, I know everything. You created that silver machine to illuminate the impenetrable, and as usual, you are gone ahead of me. I kept it, your diadem, its stiff wires and electrodes, the strange toggle you claimed was the key to omniscience. I hated it. One flick and the thing hummed, your eyes closing as bliss walked into your face, as you spoke in tongues, fragments of the past skinned open for you like the plums mother used to peel so carefully. And now you are gone to dust.
When the diadem was announced, everyone was delighted, not knowing how it bound you as if you were a slave, not a queen. Not a scientist. We should not have fooled with time. I should not have helped you build it but I never thought it would work. I knew better. You could do anything, stroll inside the brains of the dead, fold space until even Einstein grew confused. You claimed it would tell you how to fix the world, not realizing that the Earth already had become another place entirely and it was too late for repair. By then, I was too late to save you. That damn thing burned into your skull so badly I had to peel your skin away to get it off.
My dear Sarah, I am no longer angry, but I miss you. I grieve your passing. I am altogether bereaved and I wonder if you saw this future. I hope not. I have disabled the diadem, hidden its crystal. No one will know. Never again will a woman peer into her own past. We are safe, though I wish you had explained the euphoria you felt when you recorded. I could have fixed it, perhaps. I could have done more if I knew that was the problem.
I wish you had told me you were so sad.
—from the private diary of Eve Metis, sister of Sarah Metis, entry dated December 12, 2049.

Like what you see? If so, let me know and maybe I’ll post the second page too. . .


2 thoughts on “Rejection, rejection, wherefore art thou?

  1. You managed to express the contradiction of being a writer wonderfully. It's something that's hard to understand and even harder to express. It seems that like every work of fiction every writer, too, embodies an eternal conflict that keeps us going in our need to create.The excerpt from your novel reads like poetry. It's got beautiful rhythm to it and I loved it. Recently, I've been preoccupied with the past so this sentence really piqued my interest: "Never again will a woman peer into her own past." Would love to read more.

  2. Brigita, thank you. I know I'm unforgivably late replying, but I was busy, then Blogger threw-up all over the web, and then, well, it's today. Thank you for reading my ramblings. It sounds like poetry because it began as a poem and then morphed into this. 🙂

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