Author: Luisa Perkins
•1:50 PM
In one of the first scenes of the movie The Two Towers, several orcs argue over what to do with Merry and Pippin, their hostages. Some of the monsters would like to eat the hobbits; others are determined to follow orders and bring them back to their master. A fight ensues; one orc is killed in the process. The mob is momentarily shocked into silence, until its leader, Uglúk (pictured above) utters the memorable line that titles this post, and the orcs fall to.

It's one of the few times director Peter Jackson indulges in a little action-movie-crowd-pleasing cheesiness; it's the "Hasta la vista, baby" line of the film. As grisly as it is, I love the scene; the way I see it, the orcs are making the best of a bad situation. They've found the silver lining to a pretty dark cloud.

I went to the mailbox this morning with more than my usual apprehension; somehow I knew unpleasant news waited inside. Sure enough, I pulled a self-addressed, stamped envelope out of the stack; it was another rejection letter. This is the third I've received since sending out a gaggle of eleven query packages at the very beginning of the month (five on The Holly Place and six on ZF-360).

This letter was the least desirable type of rejection: an impersonal form letter on which even the signature was photocopied. It's the kind of information that makes me realize how large, yet how pathetically fragile my ego is. I know dealing with rejection is a part of any professional writer's life, just as frogging is a part of knitting and diapers are a part of mothering. I also know that querying is to getting published as dating is to getting married; you've got to find just the right partner to make things work. I know these things intellectually, so I'm trying to buck up and not take the rejection personally.

(But it feels personal. I told a writer friend the day I mailed the last of the packages off, "My babies are going out into the world. It feels like sending Christian [my 14-year-old] off to college." She answered, "No! It feels like sending Daniel [my 4-year-old] off to college!" And she was right.)

I decided when I got today's letter that I'd make my own silver lining: Christian, Daniel and I would go out for lunch (Christian is home early all this week due to mid-term exams). When I need to restore my sense of well-being, a thick, juicy cheeseburger is just the ticket, so we headed down to Garrison Market and indulged. It wasn't fresh orc, but it was mighty tasty.

So this is me, striving for sanguinity. At least the black dog is nowhere in sight; I really am fine, and I've got great plans for the rest of the day. I'll spend the evening at the Manhattan Temple with Patrick and another dear friend, and then the three of us will try out the highly rated and fabulous-sounding Café Gray, where not only meat like Pan-Seared Duck Breast, but also deliciousness like Skate Schnitzel, Lobster-Watermelon Salad, and Cherry Brown Butter Tart are featured on the menu.

And who knows what tomorrow's mail will bring? When it's all said and done, I'm sure the right thing will happen. Right?
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22 comments:

On 24/1/08 , Anne Bradshaw said...

Yes, it will happen--especially for you, you great writer lady you. I can't imagine how any publisher could reject you. What hope for the rest of us, hey?

If you want further cheering up, in addition to all the super things already going on in your day, go check out my blog for some really funny little jokes with words I think will make you giggle.

 
On 24/1/08 , James said...

Don't worry. Although I have never read your stories I am sure they are fantastic.

 
On 24/1/08 , rjlight said...

Oh, I'm sorry. I just got a letter from my editor at the movie website and they are not going to use the freelancers anymore. Rejection. And now I have a query letter ready for my mailman to pick up for a non-fiction kids article. Ugh. I know it can't be as painful as a book though. You are awesome - -you will find the right partner. I HATE QUERY LETTERS! okay, had to get that off my chest.

 
On 24/1/08 , Kimberly said...

I think I'd rather be rejected by photocopy than by handwritten note. It implies that they just hand them out automatic like...less personal somehow.

I may well feel different if my own time comes, though.

I'm so happy you found a way to fight off the blah's!

 
On 24/1/08 , Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Luisa, my two "best" rejections? One was on a slip of paper 8 1/2 X 1/2 (not kidding). Printed across it:
"not right for list". What, I couldn't be afforded a whole piece of paper?

Then there was this one: a STAMP printed on my query letter which said, "Dear Writer, Thanks but we are passing."

LOL. You gotta keep your sense of humor. BTW... the New York Temple is in my mom's neighborhood!

 
On 24/1/08 , Dedee said...

I don't understand your pain, but I love the post. I'm glad you got a cheesebuger out of it anyway.

 
On 24/1/08 , Annette Lyon said...

Darn tootin, it'll happen.

The sting is real, no matter what you know intellectually. The good thing is that I know you'll keep truckin on regardless.

 
On 24/1/08 , coloursofdawn said...

Despite your sensitive, wounded ego, you are willing to venture into the wild yonder. I, for one, am held back by my ego's sensitivities. Your time will come and you will look back in wonder at your doubts.

 
On 24/1/08 , deb said...

i've found that red meat does wonders for my fighting spirit. and, remember, madeleine l'engle's 'a wrinkle in time' was rejected by 26 publishers. richard adams' 'watership down'? also 26 rejections. 'gone with the wind'? 38 rejections. i could continue but you get my drift.

i'll also say this to further demonstrate our kinship ... i wrote something that i knew was ABSOLUTELY PERFECT for salon.com and they rejected me. for a whole week i considered cancelling my premium subscription.

 
On 24/1/08 , sirdar said...

A PFO letter. The worst kind. But, just like finding a job, you know that if you keep trying, good news will happen. Keep up the positive attitude if you can. The good news will be coming soon.

 
On 25/1/08 , Thalia's Child said...

There must be something magic in red meat because it always makes me feel better too.

 
On 25/1/08 , PEZmama said...

I don't know what frogging is, but I am familiar with rejection. You sound like you have a handle on it, but I do hope the sting of it passes quickly.

 
On 25/1/08 , painted maypole said...

the right thing will happen. yes.

but it's OK to be bummed out.

and that is a funny line in that movie! :)

 
On 25/1/08 , Lilacspecs said...

Well, after the orc bit I wasn't expecting the rejection thing. Very good tie in there. And I admire you for producing manuscripts. I always want to sit and write and find something else to do instead.

 
On 25/1/08 , Virtualsprite said...

I'm in the middle of writing my first novel and I'm a ways away from even doing queries, but I've already got ulcers from it.

Huge props to you for even doing it! It's hard. It's even better that you can find the silver lining. Keep it up. If your manuscripts are as good as your blog, you'll get snapped up soon.

 
On 25/1/08 , Christine said...

That is a TOTAL bummer! I'm sorry.
But, as I recall, you knew the move towards writing was the right thing. Whether it is in the act of writing or the opportunity of publishing, you ARE doing the right thing.
How many people can say that?
...let the consequences follow.
HUG!
...and I'm always available for a cheeseburger meet-up! ;-)

 
On 25/1/08 , anjmae said...

You are very brave to send the babies out in the first place!
Sounds like we had a similar evening--I went to the Laie Temple with two great friends and then stopped at the highly rated Angel's Ice Cream (actually the only ice cream place in town) for a treat: Mocha Almond Fudge.
Keep on keepin' on, my friend!

 
On 25/1/08 , golde and tevye (in unison) said...

Of course right.

 
On 25/1/08 , Alice said...

Good for you for not letting that get to you. I'm glad you're not giving up. One of these days you're going to find somebody to publish it and you're not going to know what to do. I can't wait for that day.

And your book really is wonderful. I've told quite a few friends about it, and some read it. They agree. :-)

Just stick it out.

 
On 25/1/08 , deb said...

is this national flip flop your blog day? this is the second of my regular blogs i've visited today and discovered what was on the right is now on the left. disturbing for a creature of habit like myself.

 
On 25/1/08 , Syar said...

Right. Definitely right.

I always love reading about optimism in the face of discouraging news. Keep on keeping it on Luisa. It'll happen.

 
On 26/1/08 , Tristi Pinkston said...

Stay positive, Luisa -- rejection does stink but it makes the eventual acceptance so much sweeter.