The Acceptance Letter
After spending a healthy chunk of life writing a novel, there is nothing more hallowed to a writer than the day that first acceptance letter arrives.
Many people can describe what was going on in their life in minute detail on the day foreign airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Many older citizens recall keen memories of the day the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I remember vivid details of these two historical days. Another day that stands out front and center in my mind is the day my first novel was accepted for publication. Oh yes indeed, I remember that happening like it occurred yesterday or maybe an hour ago.
And why is that? I’ll tell you why. It’s because for most writers that acceptance comes after years and years of writing and months of rejection letters. Oh, sure, everyone says it is part of the game, that everyone gets rejections. "Just buckle up they say. Don’t let the turn-downs get to you,"
That my friends is a bunch of hogwash. It is easier said than done. Reading comments such as,”I read the first paragraph of your novel, and it did not warrant further reading,” was not a real morale booster. The day I got that one, I walked back from my mailbox saying, “Well, screw you too.” I’d had about a hundred nice rejections with comments like, Nice work but it’s not for us. I wish you luck elsewhere, and sorry we are loaded up with manuscripts right now, and Excellent writing but the subject isn’t good for the current market.”
When the day finally arrived after a year and a half of dogged persistence, I read the editor's e-mail (God Bless him) saying he was interested my work, I was shocked. I could hardly breathe “Oh, my God,” I said to the dog then read the e-mail over and over again. Foster, the editor wanted to know if I would be willing to tighten the book, shorten it a little. "No problem," I wrote back. I’d be more than willing to make some changes. I thanked him for his interest in my novel and then I clicked send. My heart was pounding. I got up and danced a jig around the room. Ashley the dog chased me in circles.
I wanted to shout out to the world that someone actually liked the words I'd put on paper. This editor liked my story. He had taken it home with him the night before and had spent hours reading it. That amazed me. I sat back down, a silly grin on my face. I turned off the computer and let out a long sigh. I ran downstairs, put on my tennis shoes, then wrote a note to my golfing husband saying I was going out for a walk. I headed out the door. It was a summer evening. I walked and walked, inhaling the warm air and marveling at how beautiful the flowers and trees looked. Even the chirping birds sounded happy. I returned home at seven and found my husband on the computer. “How was your walk” he said.
“Amazing, really fantastic,” I said.
“Wow, it must have been great. Where did you go?”
“I’m not sure. I don’t think my feet ever touched the ground.”
"Okay, what's going on?" I gave him the good news. He congratulated me and invited me out to dinner to celebrate. (A really good idea since I hadn’t managed to start any dinner.) It was a day that is etched in my memory. I had pasta for dinner. I wore a black top and a multi-colored skirt to dinner, and wore an artsy necklace. We had a fun date. Every time I remember that day I give thanks for that editor for pulling my work from a mountain of manuscripts and taking the time to delve into my story.