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.

14 Responses to “Rejection, Boondocks, and Burning the House Down”

  1. Mona says:

    Burn baby Burn!!!!!

  2. Melodye says:

    Okay, so this is the first time I’ve heard this song, but it feels like an anthem to me, too. Not for the same reasons, but music has a way of transcending the small details, doesn’t it?

    I’m going to ask my voice teacher if we can work on this song next. We’ll burn down the house together–singin’, stompin’, and waving our tambourines. xoxo

    • Candice says:

      It offers great opportunities for a duet, trio, or foursome. And the lyrics kind of wind along about honeysuckle and gravel roads and then–bam! Mel, you get the line and I’ll get the pole and we’ll go fishing at the crawfish hole. (In our discovery shorts).

  3. Seems like it takes a really bad week (and sometimes several in a row) to bring us to our knees and our clearest realizations. Listened to the song, and I guess it’s an anthem for most of us – I’m tired of apologizing for who I am. Remember fun? I’m ready to burn the house down, too!

  4. Agy Wilson says:

    I feel like you do Candice, and posted your video (and the link to your blog) to my FB wall. I so appreciate your candid nature and honest sharing. Working alone (and sometimes VERY alone, because I don’t bring an income in very often) is so damned hard. No one even views it as work, It must be, I’m compelled to do it…

  5. Candice says:

    Hey, Agy! Thank heaven people are posting that video link. I love the song and the video is gorgeous so I like to give credit to Little Big Town. Yeah, it’s work. I sit here all day long. Sometimes with very little to show at the end of the day. I know you do, too. We have to believe the fire will pay off!

  6. Melissa G says:

    I can certainly commiserate with you. Rejection is never easy is it? And you spent a whole year working on that book. A whole year! It is understandable what you are feeling. If it were me I’d be raiding the entire confectionary store.
    On the flipside it is healthy to whip that sadness. The Boondocks song is perfect. I love it! It kind of makes me think of growing up in the country. Particularly Woomera, because the air force community there was 50% American. In fact whenever I hear Sweet Home Alabama I always connect it with my Woomera memories. I cannot explain why that is considering the Americans that I was surrounded by came from different parts of the US and the song itself was from a wholely different generation.

    • Candice says:

      I’m beginning to think you were a Southern American in another life! Now I understand your American ties better. [And I haven’t forgotten your book list.] Your home of the heart is in the South, clearly. Mine is in Scotland, a place I’ve only visited briefly, but I knew it was my “home” long before I went. We align ourselves with the landscape, the people, the speech, the histories, for some reason. My family originated in Scotland, so that might be the reason for me. And your home of the heart is woven into your childhood. It’s become part of your on-going memoir.

      I’m crazy about that song, too!

  7. argh. I wanted you to be dancing for Iva Honeysuckle. I know you’ve been putting your new all into this, and it makes me mad, too, that it’s not snatched up. Sometimes things stink.

  8. Wordphreak says:

    “I got booger on Saturday night”? Is that code?

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