12:31 pm: Dear Diary, Oh! Mail’s here. I’ll just have a quick look — a few manuscripts circulating.
12:32 pm: Oh joy! Oh bliss! My poem to the magazine I have desperately been trying to break into…was not immediately rejected! I received a postcard with my name and address handwritten on the front and a note on the back saying, “We are considering your manuscript for publication, and we’ll be in contact soon.” This part was pre-printed, but the title of my manuscript was written in blue ink. Ink! An actual person taking their time with an actual pen. It’s going to be published…maybe…
1:30 pm: Have called my husband, best friend, neighbor and old high school English teacher Mrs. C. Must have had bad connection with Mrs. C. — line went dead after my greeting, “This is your favorite writing phenom.” Hmmm?…
2:30pm: Finished re-reading poem and cover letter about five or ten times. OK, twenty-three times, to see if I can get a feel for what the editor is thinking by osmosis. Feeling very confident…
3:45pm: Not so confident now. Re-read poem approximately sixty more times, and noticed two commas that may be unnecessary. Also, realized I used the word “so” three times on cover letter. It will be rejected. I’m getting used to the idea.
On second thought–
6:30pm: Just got home from celebration dinner with husband. Near-success feels euphoric! Wonder how we’ll celebrate when actual acceptance arrives?
8:35pm: Trying to work on short story, but am staring at aforementioned glossy postcard. The handwriting of my name is so neat and precise — a mini-masterpiece. Their beautiful penmanship must directly equate with the strength of their love of my work. It’s going to be published!
9:05pm: What if everyone gets these little postcards? What if they just send them out automatically after a certain period of time to all of the lowly slush pile inhabitants to buy themselves another twelve weeks to shuffle envelopes?! That’s it. Not even a maybe. It’s hopeless. Putting it out of my mind now.
9:06pm: However…it takes more time (and money) to write out the postcard than to just take a quick look at my manuscript and send it back rejected. So they like it. Maybe they love it! Maybe they love it so much that they’ll recommend me to an agent, so I can pitch finally pitch my book. And then if it won an award or two…the possibilities…the interviews….and, oh! Note to self: Schedule eyebrow wax and start Pilates class. Must do battle with the television’s extra twenty pounds. Off to bed for beauty rest…
10:30pm: Trying to sleep but postcard keeps scratching my cheek…will stick it under pillow now.
2:30am: ZZZZZZ yes thank you, ZZZZZZ, Pulitzer was a surprise. Owe it all to the magazine that had so much faith…..ZZZZZZ
4:30am: ZZZZZZ…AAh! Nightmare! Too many adverbs…Delete! Delete! ZZZZZZ
8:00am: Ironing out postcard and putting it away now. Will not look at it anymore. Will not think about it anymore…too many things to do. I am, after all, a writer. I will go up to my computer, and just write.
10:30am: Gave up on writing, and went to the library to skim through four years of back issues of magazine. Could find no poem like mine. Is that good or bad? Maybe my poem’s too different. I wonder how soon, “we’ll contact you soon,” is? Maybe I should make a quick call to check.
12:30pm: Successfully stopped myself from calling magazine. Husband has confiscated little postcard, and is having whispered conversation on phone…thought I heard him say “Doctor?”
Will now get back to work on other projects. No more distractions. Am completely focused on writing now.
12:31pm: Oh! Mail’s here. I’ll just have a quick look…