Dismissals and Rejections – of Symptoms and Submissions

“It’s not a realization that came to me easily or early on in my life as a chronic illness patient. It took me several years to finally recognize it and to see what had been in front of me all along.

Not until I marked my submission tracker with that most depressing word, “Declined,” did I make the connection. I realized that having a piece of writing declined and leaving a doctor’s appointment without any answers share many of the same emotions.” 

Those paragraphs are taken from my personal essay, “Dismissals and Rejections — of Symptoms and Submissions,” recently published at Spoonie Authors Network. You can click here to read the essay in its entirety.

Charming Notes

It wasn’t my idea. 

I got it from Carolyn See and her fantastic book Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers. (If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. I’ve read this book several times, and each time, I find something new that touches me. Each time, I also laugh out loud.)

Here’s what Carolyn See said in Chapter 4 – Charming Notes:

“…you write one charming note to a novelist, an editor, a journalist, a poet, a sculptor, even an agent whose professional work or reputation you admire, five days a week, for the rest of your life. Then after you write the note, you address it, put a stamp on it, and mail it out. These notes are like paper airplanes sailing around the world, and they accomplish a number of things at once.

“They salute the writer (or editor or agent in question). They say to him or her: Your work is good and admirable! You’re not laboring in a vacuum. There are people out in the world who know what you do and respect it.

“The notes are also saying: I exist, too. In the same world as you. Isn’t that amazing? They can also say: Want to play?”

I don’t write “charming notes” five days a week. But I do make an effort to contact a writer and let him/her know their words touched me. Sometimes, I look up their website and fill out the “contact me form.” Sometimes, I write them an email. Now that I’m on Instagram (@wendykennar), sometimes I comment on one of their photos related to what I just read. 

Sometimes I hear back — a simple “thank you,” a longer, several-line email. 

And sometimes, I receive no reply. But that’s okay.

Because I know I wrote the notes, and I like to think my “charming notes-paper airplanes” are out in the world, flying about, spreading bits of goodness and positivity. 

And that’s enough for me.