Today Jimmie and I celebrated our first rejection letter. No, I’m not being callous.
I took a vacation day from work not because all the work is done and I’m ready for the start of classes, but because it seemed like the last gasp of summer and I didn’t want to miss it. We had planned to have lunch at home with our friends Michael and June, and had made a dinner reservation at our favorite Cape Cod throwback spot, Connie and Ted’s in WeHo. There you can get a good set of full-bellied clams and some real homey coleslaw. I love watching Jimmie’s face as he enjoys his favorite food in the world. Who needs ambrosia when you can have fried clams?
We were on our way out of the building at about 5:30PM; the mail had just arrived. Mike, one of the new guards, held up a manila envelope with the familiar stickers that I had printed. It was just the shape of the envelopes I had mailed off the day before yesterday and yesterday.
Wow, that was quick. This is really a brutal business!
I reached for the envelope and there was the SASE that I had prepared for the return of Jimmie’s manuscript. It was definitely his book winging it’s way back to us, and seemed to have been mailed properly from a post office, because it had a tracking sticker on it. See? I thought, the system worked. I turned and handed the envelope to Jimmie.
I’m sorry. I’ll bring the car. You open it to see what the letter says.
When I drove back up to pick Jimmie up, he didn’t look upset. He was waiting patiently for me on the concrete bench near the elevator, script in hand. As I approached him, I looked to see which of the two publishers had returned the script so quickly, secretly fuming whichever one it was really hadn’t given the book the attention it deserved. I was silently outraged, taking the manuscript from Jimmie and looking down at the cover letter.
Wait a minute. What?
Clipped to the manuscript was my letter to the second publisher. The one I had quickly put together on my way out the door to work yesterday, rushing a bit so as not to be late to my morning meeting. What an idiot! I had taken two envelopes both with To and From addresses to us, driven them to the post office and paid for and affixed postage on each of them, mailing the book…back to myself. My rage dwindled to sheepish embarrassment as I folded up Jimmie’s walker and put it into the trunk of the car. I started laughing at my idiocy, wondering if there was ever another writer who had done what I had done. Probably not. Well, at least it’s a deductible expense. And I got this confessional blog out of it, right?
I frequently think there are just not enough hours in the day. Just when I am more or less sure of it, the universe mails me something to drive that point home.
I’m glad to have a few more days to get organized before school starts.