I’m taking a break from pulling out ticks, possibly diseased ones, from my novel, Norah. I’ve tromped through this dense forest tale for a long time and I’ve tripped over roots, mostly my own; been bitten by bedbugs (yes, they aren’t only in mattresses, but this is an inside joke); I’ve been scratched by brambles and have become quite prickly (how dare you tell me my novel rambles!); and I’ve fallen into icy streams to learn about streamlining. I’ve also rubbed against the poison ivy of criticism and scratched for the truth until I oozed. And do you know about the gnats, those ‘no-see-ums’ as they are called in New Hampshire? They fly in the eyes and buzz in your ears until you give up and go inside, cursing the outdoors. Okay, sometimes you must. You go back inside and sit at your desk to scratch alright – scratch out all the useless adjectives and extraneous material. But it is also wise to apply some first aid cream to fight any infection caused by the swarms of biting remarks, including those that come from yourself.
I found this web site one day after having to rush inside, ‘Rejections of Famous Authors Before They Became Famous.’ Some of my favorites are:
Although Emily Dickinson published only seven poems in her lifetime, an early rejection advised her: “(Your poems) are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.”
The San Francisco Examiner, rejecting Rudyard Kipling: “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”
The San Francisco Examiner, rejecting Rudyard Kipling: “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.” (thought we should read this one twice)
So many publishers rejected The Tale of Peter Rabbit that Beatrix Potter published it herself.
When I recently visited The Old Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott’s home, and touched her desk to garner some of her magic, I learned that a publisher told her to “go back to teaching, Miss Alcott, for you surely can’t write.”
Yes, I’ve been taking a break from pulling out the ticks, those blood-sucking words that weaken and pale a novel, but I must get back to my tweezers (black Pilot pen) now. I wonder sometimes if I will just stay inside, but then no. No way. I will return to the forest again and again, no matter the dangers! I love the feel of the wind, the birdsong, and the wildness of writing a good tale.
Please view my new book trailer for my forthcoming novel, Norah: