A really, really nice rejection note I got today on a story I really, really cared about. For no particular reason, I will take the name of the journal out.:
Thank you so much for submitting "Savage, Maryland" to ______. Though the piece received many favorable comments, it was not selected for publication in the upcoming issue. However, we all admire your writing and sincerely hope you will submit to future volumes. On a personal note, I once lived in Howard County (western side—Highland/Fulton) and have been on the quarry trails, so your piece was especially evocative to me. You drew this setting beautifully.
God. Damn. It. It's a really nice note, and with that level of specificity, there's no chance this is a "fake personal rejection." They really liked it. They just had more good stuff than they could fit. Fuck me.
It occurs to me that one thing that compelled me to start writing again was that I had some things inside of me I really had to get out. But I don't want to just put them on a page for my own personal catharsis. I want to share them, because some of them I really love. I want to give them away. That's how I felt about "American as Berbere," the one that did get published. There are a few more I really love and just want to find an audience. This is my third "encouraging rejection" in three months. I should be encouraged, but right now I just feel empty. If I am making pro-cons lists of whether to keep up this effort of writing, this deflated feeling right now of almost having found a home for this story is in the con column. I am not an indefatigably chipper person. If you tell me no enough times, I will stop asking. I'm really low right now. Which is not how I should feel after someone just said such really nice things about a story I wrote. Shit.