A young writer

I recently got a rejection e-mail from a magazine.  It was a very nice rejection letter.  It didn’t sting all that bad because I recently had my first ACCEPTANCE email from a magazine.  I first saw it on my cell phone while crossing a street.  A huge smile came over my face and I said, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.”  Then I got hit by a car.

Not really.  But back to the rejection email.  The following sentences struck me: “We are impressed with the fresh, appealing voice of these poems, especially since you’re such a young writer! We wish you lots of luck with your work, and hope to hear from you in the future.”

First, it’s incredibly nice of them to write such personalized sentences.  That rarely happens.  And I really do appreciate them taking the time to say what they did.  But…

I’m disappointed in the huge role that age plays in their message.  I’m disappointed in their implication that age and good writing go hand in hand.  You know?  That’s a bummer.  Sure, it stands to reason that the longer you’ve been alive the more time you’ve had to practice and hone your craft.   And if I read between the lines then they’re probably implying that although fresh and appealing, the poems can stand to be honed.  Which is perfectly acceptable.

But I can’t help feeling like it was a folly on my part to have given this magazine clues about my relatively young age.  The truth is, I’ll never know how much my age factored in to their decision.  Again, maybe it wasn’t a real factor at all.  Maybe it was only an afterthought.  A thought after they’d already decided to pass on the work.

Anyway, that’s all that’s on my mind.  In conclusion, poetry is great.  I especially like when it’s not boring and it’s not maddeningly abstract.  Here are a couple lines from a poet I’ve been reading lately named Marge Piercy.  It’s a rare thing, and such a cool thing, when a poem can make you stop and think.  Rarer and cooler, still, when a poem makes you think about something in a new, more illuminated light.

I cast myself on you, closing

my eyes as I leap and then opening them wide

as I land.  Love is plunging into darkness toward

something that may exist.

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4 responses to “A young writer

  1. You are completely right about the longer you’ve been alive the better you are at writing. When I was in college I was convinced I was a writing prodigy, looking back now I realize there were a lot of weak spots in my writing & story structure.

    That rejection letter is the best you can get. It basically means this one didn’t work, but we want to hear from you again. Congratz!!!!!

    • madamelibrarian

      Thanks! I’m still surprised about the positive things they wrote. And it is true. In even a short amount of time writing and writer can improve drastically. Thanks for the comment, it means a lot!

  2. CONGRATUALTIONS ON THE ACCEPTANCE!!! It’s nice to see someone I’ve visited for years get a deserved ATTA-BOY or in your case ATTA-MADAME! My human just signed a two book deal so there are celebrations all around.
    Sandy
    http://www.sandysays1.wordpress.com

  3. madamelibrarian

    Wow! Congratulations! I’m sure your support of your human has played a role in the success 🙂

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