Ghost Ranch rejection


Perfect tiny snowflakes combine to make an avalanche.

I applied for this amazing writer’s retreat that happens in New Mexico every summer. It takes place at a spot called Ghost Ranch, and it’s sponsored by a group called A Room of Her Own (AROHO), a writing collective for female authors. I desperately wanted to go there this summer, for peace, for quiet, for a community of fellow writers. I was pressing my fairy godmother for a heavy favor on this one.

So, I got an email from the coordinator. “We were pleased to review your excellent application for a fellowship to attend the 2011 AROHO Retreat.  The strength of your writing made you the runner-up for the Touching Lives Fellowship; and,  although we are unable to offer you a fellowship this year, we want you to know how impressed the board was by your application.”  As rejections go, that one was pretty sweet. But the fact is, I didn’t get chosen.

Here’s the reason I’m writing about this today: I didn’t flip out. I didn’t take it as a sign that I suck. I didn’t slip into a deep depression and vow to never write again (yeah, I’ve said that about a million times. It never happens.)  Instead, I read the very nice rejection, tucked it away in my file of things that didn’t quite work out as I would have hoped, and went on my merry way.

This may not seem really remarkable to most people. However, being a lapsed Catholic with a tendency to mentally flog myself at any sign of failure or inadequacy, this attitude was a major move forward for me. I was able to read the email and focus on the positives: namely, that these amazing women thought my writing was excellent, that they took the time to write me a personal note, and that they encouraged me to keep on keepin’ on.  This was definitely a change for me.

What has happened? Have I suddenly become a sunny, funny Valentine who sees the world through rose-colored contact lenses? Uh…no. I still have days where depression dogs my every step, where blackness lingers near my soul like the shadow of the Grim Reaper waiting to sop me up like sauce on a biscuit. I definitely don’t have this whole outlook thing licked quite yet. But I am making progress.

Progress. Small, incremental steps that, over time, lead to major breakthroughs. The tiny drops of water eroding the Grand Canyon. The grains of rice that accumulate and feed a nation. The small, perfectly formed snowflakes that combine to create an avalanche.

Small steps that create great journeys.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 03:21:46

    Congratulations!!!
    Both for getting so close and being so appreciated – and for your great attitude!!! Big hugs!

    Reply

  2. Skyler
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 08:47:50

    They’re jelly

    Reply

  3. Sam
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 09:50:12

    i am very proud of you for how you handled this! i know it must have been very difficult but you took it in stride and that’s a huge step towards progress 🙂

    Reply

  4. Jon (0h..you know who!)
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 23:18:15

    You’re winning! You have Tiger’s blood!

    Reply

  5. Kym
    Mar 26, 2011 @ 23:35:15

    I’m proud of you.

    Reply

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