We’ve been having some colorful sunrises, but when I woke up and looked out the window today, the sky was monochrome. Grey as far as the eye could see. Nothing spectacular today, I thought.
I went into the other room to write an email. Yesterday I submitted a lyrical, wintry piece to perhappened literary magazine. I had written it last year but hadn’t managed to find a literary home for it. I had heard wonderful things about perhappened on Twitter. I decided to give them a try. The deadline for their theme SNOWFALL was ending last night at midnight. I sent my piece in yesterday afternoon. I woke up to a lovely rejection letter from editor-in-chief Isaura Ren. (timestamped 3:12am, mind you).
Since I rarely use the words “lovely” and “rejection” side-by-side, let me explain. After gently rejecting my piece, she complimented it, told me why the readers rejected it (it was similar to much of what they’d already taken), and suggested seven other publications which might accept it. I so appreciated that she took the time to send me a good word. She didn’t have to do that. No money is changing hands here. I didn’t pay her to read my essay and the magazine doesn’t pay for pieces. What’s happening in exchanges like these goes beyond all that. When someone takes time out of their busy day (and we’re all busy) to send someone a kind word like this and then even take it a step further and suggest places they might find success, it lightens the heart, brings a smile, and motivates the next step. If there’s anything we need this year, it’s kindness like that.
I have been writing and submitting for ten years. In all that time, I’ve gotten several rejection letters, many of them form letters but also quite a few sincere missives. But only one mentioned another place to send my work. That letter came about ten years ago, and they only suggested one place to send it. Isaura suggested seven. Her email left such an impression on me, I wroter her back. When I was done, I glanced out the front window and realized the whole sky had turned pink. If the sky was that blushed out the westward-facing window, certainly the sunrise out the back window must have taken on some color as well. When I’d checked the status just moments before, it seemed the day was destined to remain grey. When I went for a second look, sure enough those grey clouds were now flooded with copper and complimented by pink cotton candy puffs. All I could think was, I didn’t see that coming!
*Incidentally, submissions for perhappened issue themed LOVE open today. After such a lovely letdown, you know I’ll be sending them another piece. See how you make friends?