For those of us who are writers, it's hard not to take a rejection letter from an agent or editor personally—especially early in the process, when each word of a simple form rejection can feel like bee stings, BBs in the buttocks, or hot acid. And it's difficult indeed to see querying, and the inevitable rejections that come with it, as the subjective process it is.
Let's imagine then, for a moment, that rejection letters were par for the course in other very subjective contexts. Would you still take them personally? Would they still sting and burn? Does rejection stink no matter how it's served? Or are we sometimes wearing puce-tinted glasses? I wonder. Let's see:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Lugnutz,
Thank you for the opportunity to tour your lovely home at last Sunday's open house. While we admired the billiards room and the wet bar in the master bedroom, we're afraid to say that we just didn't quite fall in love. We're looking for something very specific, you see: A home in which we can raise our pet ferrets in a hutch in the backyard. Upon measurement, your backyard—while filled with fragrant spring flowers and that pleasant tinkling fountain—just doesn't have the correct contours for our needs. We hope that you find a buyer who will bestow upon your house as much love as you have clearly put into it.
Misty and Hugh Greenteeth
I enjoyed our blind date on Saturday. You are clearly a personable young lady, with many charms. Among them are your very voluptuous rump and your extremely advantageous bosom. Despite these assets, I just didn't feel the chemistry required to see you a second time. You deserve a man who will want to ravish you at each and every opportunity, and for a reason I cannot fathom (and at times excoriate myself for, for you are a hot number), I am not that man. I wish you the best of luck in finding love elsewhere.
Dear Freckles, Sassy, Jiminy, and Bobo,
Thanks for the opportunity to consider each one of you to be my new puppy. I enjoyed your boundless enthusiasm and the spittle that flew from your tongues. Unfortunately, I may choose only one puppy whose poop I wish to scoop during endless walks, and that will grow old with me by the fireside. When I saw little Spot—plain and piebald though he was—my heart jumped, for I sensed a kindred spirit. I know your angry little hearts are burning with jealousy and rage now, little pups, but you want an owner who will be true to you through all. Trust me, you will find someone who loves you. Yes, even you, Freckles, with that bum leg and that wandering eye...for perhaps you will try harder to beat the field than any of them.
Funny, I set out to prove a point here. But I'm still feeling a wee bit sad for the Lugnutz couple, Sadie-Lou, and the little Lumpen puppy Freckles. I hope they keep their chins up. I think that they will.