Rejection, Boondocks, and Burning the House Down

Posted April 16th, 2012 by Candice

The last two weeks have been terrible.  Breakdowns in grocery stores.  Crying at 6:30 in the morning.  Overeating.  Not walking.  Not exercising.  Whining, weeping, wailing, and much gnashing of teeth.  And why?

Because my novel is being rejected.  Yes, even after over 100 books published, I still get rejections.  My agent would tell me somebody has passed on a project and normally I’d go, Well, okay, and move on. 

But not this novel.

Not the book I worked on for a year.  Not the book that challenged me every day, every step of the way.  Not the book that changed my life and there is no going back, not ever.  How could they pass on this book?  Pass!  Like, turning down a piece of fruitcake?  No, thanks.  I’ll pass.

Not this book.

And so for two weeks I let these rejections take the real me hostage.  Meals were marked with slammed pans and cabinets.  The bed wasn’t made until ten or eleven or even noon.  I stopped sleeping.  My heartburn came back.  My husband got tired of seeing my dreary face first thing in the morning and last thing at night. 

Worse, I didn’t write.  And that is the real source of the Spring of My Discontent.  I don’t like being in the my-book-is-being-shopped-around place.  I want to be in the Storyplace, where I can lose myself in my work and not worry about the rest of the world.

This weekend, while I was slamming and banging around, I heard “Boondocks” on the radio.  It’s an older song by Little Big Town and I’d heard it before.  (It could be my anthem).  Near the end of the song the tempo picks up and the singers take different parts.  On the video, everybody burns the house down. Nobody is mewling or cringing over rejected novels.

 [I can’t embed the video, for some reason, mainly I don’t know how, but here’s the link.]

Suddenly I knew that’s what I wanted to do.   I want to work like I’m burning the house down.  Not care about rejections or what other people think.  Work each day like it’s my last. 

Burn the house down.