writer, listener

Rejection and acceptance

on June 21, 2013

Yesterday was significant. First, my kickass agent let me know about a rejection by an editor at a major house. It was fantastic, actually. In short, he loved the story (for reasons that made me happy), fought to acquire it, but just couldn’t get his entire team on board. That’s a win in my book. It’s an absolutely unbiased YOU DON’T SUCK from deep within a very competitive industry. It’s the kind of thing that keeps writers like me going through this part of it.

And then, something else related to my story happened. My biodad’s 50th birthday book of photos and greetings turned up. I thought he’d left it somewhere during one of his sudden moves. He did that sometimes. He’d just up and move and leave behind everything that didn’t fit in a bag he could carry.

My story–the one that got the fantastic rejection–is set on Historic Charter boat Row where all the greetings came from.



Inside are pictures of people from my dad’s life on the docks. I recognize most of them. Some of them are dead now, too. And some of them are defying death, if you ask me. I’m convinced the salt air does something to preserve fishermen who can otherwise be pretty hard on their bodies.

My dad was loved there. Accepted as is. I knew that already. I was reminded of it, though, while looking through the book that his friends put together for him. They threw him that party, knowing he couldn’t possibly make it because he was sick and living up north with me. By that time, Hospice was involved because the doctors said he wouldn’t last much longer. But the stubborn bastard lasted another seven years. Salt air, I’m telling you.

I also know he was loved on charterboat row because the greetings are things like, “Happy Birthday, you asshole. Sorry you missed your party” and “You’re still ugly. Age hasn’t helped.”

That’s fishermen for, “We love you, buddy, and we’ll never forget you.”

12 responses to “Rejection and acceptance

  1. Wow. Congrats on both counts!

  2. Erik Larson says:

    It’s wonderful you found that book of photos. Sorry that the editor couldn’t get his team on board, but that’s some major validation.

  3. Rhonda, I’se got a feeling you’re pretty close with this one. (Why do teams have to be involved?! Grr.) It’s strange how “nice” rejections can keep one buoyed.

    Glad, also, that you found your dad’s book. I love those fisherfolk’s terms of endearment.

    Fingers crossed for you.

    • Thanks so much, Michael G-G.

      Lots of little treasures like this are turning up while I search through boxes of old stuff for my son’s grad party. I keep getting sidetracked (obvs).

  4. Rick Boettger says:

    Rhonda, on behalf of your “biodad”s spirit, I gratefully accept your loving Father’s Day card to him.

  5. Lesley C says:

    I love how much love went into the book! I can only hope that when I hit 50, someone would put together a book for me too!

    All the best with your baby. May you be able to share good news soon 😀

  6. Lenard Carol says:

    Thanks for the post. Frank and I enjoyed reading it.

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