Updated: Apr 30
Rejection- There’s a word to strike fear and sadness into anyone’s heart. Especially the heart of a writer. Recently, a fabulous English friend of mine (Angela Dy) and the dynaman (Wolfram Alderson) helping me (so much!) to negotiate the rapids of the internet, put together a packet about me and my writing and sent it to a well-established London bookstore. There was a chance I might do a reading at there. Weeks went by with no response. Angela and Wolfram nudged. The bookstore wrote back- No reading, but maybe I could participate (with other poets) in an event at another store. We waited. A few days and then came the word- Nothing. Nada. I felt crushed at first. Then (I confess it) a little annoyed. Why wouldn’t a bookstore want me to come and read? I’m a good reader and I’m starting to get a little bit of a following. I’m up to things in the world, and I’m almost 75. I find myself interesting.
I hope one of these days the R.B. (Rejecting Bookstore) finds reason to regret its rejection of me. I would have read in the morning, the afternoon, the evening. I would gladly have performed a play, recited a poem, read a micro fiction. Upon reflection, I think their rejection says more about their fear and sadness (book sales are declining) than a flaw in me as a writer. They don’t know me, after all.
This is a blog in a bottle. I send it out hoping other bookstores will see and decide to give traveling writers, semi-unknown and unknown talents, a chance. At the worst, their (usually very small) audience will be bored or annoyed. But there is a chance one or both parties and life-long friendships and alliances will be formed…. I wanted to love you, Anonymous Bookstore. I wanted to give to you. And you rejected me. Too bad. So sad.
oMaybe the next time I am In England--? Or perhaps there is another, more enterprising bookstore somewhere in the wilds of Oxford or London…? And they will give me a chance on the weekend of June 1-3rd to read my work and we can have an English-American culture fest…. I have been friends with Joseph Brodsky and Czeslaw Milosz. I have had work published in Time magazine. I’ve had my picture in Life. Just on that score, wouldn’t a reading be possible? Sigh. (Not to mention being singled out for praise by the likes of John F. Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor.) Oh, Bookstore! I grieve our not-to-be connection!
Maybe I’ll grab a couple of my books and do a reading on the sidewalk in front of the bookstore. Is there a newspaper who will film me? Maybe the bookstore’s rejection of me will go viral. (Can rejections do that?) At any rate, I am thrilled to be going to England and lecturing at the Bodleian library- I am more than thrilled that my English host (Gillian Evison) and her husband are taking me to see Stonehenge. I just finished a hiking trip on the Olympic Peninsula with my two stalwart sons. Life is very good. Even with its rejections….