On rejection

March has come. I did not write anything in February. There was nothing new, save that I managed to receive an unconditional offer from the university of my first choice but I could not secure a funding for my studies. It is really heart-breaking… But in the end, it was something, because you know that you are good enough, academically at least and that money REALLY matters, that you need a whole lot of money to pursue your urge to learn. The morning I got the rejection letter, I had to go with my parents to the airport. It was scorching hot even though it was just nine in the morning. I felt like I had too much monosodium glutamate. I was really sad.

After a submission, it is waiting, and hope, and expectations. I always submit my poems somewhere, both major and minor journals. Most of the time I get rejected. And for that reason, I thought I would cope well with the inevitable disappointment of rejection. But it was not the case. A few days later, I received bunches of rejection letters from journals and reviews. I woke up those mornings, grabbed my phone to see what I would get, my heart was throbbing and my pulse was up, and seconds later I was disappointed to find out it was another rejection letter, sent automatically, in batches. It is inevitable, because there are more people who want to get published than those who could manage to do so. It is the same as there are more people who apply for a scholarship to study abroad than those who could earn it. It is always inevitable because places and budgets are limited.

I think about how most of Dickinson’s poems were only acknowledged, praised and published posthumously. And I wonder what if Woolf had not been born in an upper middle class family, if her father had not been the legendary Leslie Stephen, and if Hume’s major works had not been published out of censorship and harsh criticism. What if?

I had to resort to Paul Kingsnorth’s words for inspiration.

It cannot be denied that it is easier today for ones to get published by oneself, because works can go online and a lot of people can see it, enjoy it. I think about writers in the old days, who wrote on paper, and kept their writings in locked boxes. How could they do that?

Maintenant, je lis La Nausée, par Sartre. Je me sens que la nausée, c’est comme une graine qui s’élargit à l’intérieure de moi, qu’elle m’entourne et m’envahit. C’est peut-être une illusion. Je ne sais pas. Je ne suis pas sur, mais je ne peux plus manger normalement, le petit-déjeuner partout, et bien, il me semble que ma forme se baisse aussi. De temps en temps, je me sens que je suis l’étranger même dans mon corps, je ne sais pas même ce qui se passe dans ma tête. Derrière moi, avant moi, autour de moi, c’est le monde que je ne connais plus. Et grace à ça, la vie actuelle, c’est pour moi comme un film long, réel (est-il réel?) parce que mes yeux, dans le cas, se fonctionnent dans la même façon d’un camera, qui voit le monde comme il va. Mais en même temps, toutes les choses se flottent dans l’univers, que je crois est surpeuplé par matériaux innombrables et qui ressemble à un sommeil éternel. Mes compétences en langues s’éteignent. Je suis fatigué, je m’ennuie.

En parlant français, je me sens que je ne suis pas moi en anglais, ou en vietnamien. C’est uniquement moi en français. J’ai besoin de me coucher, beaucoup. Je pense du Kalanchoé penné. Je me demande comment une nouvelle plante est née en lisière d’une feuille. J’amerais le planter. Je pense de Goethe, qui l’a adoré.

Sometimes I wake up early, and immerse myself in the first sunlight of the day. I watch cats playing in the sun. I think about one of my friends who committed suicide a few years ago after his girlfriend dumped him. The sunlight will never shine on his arm, on his body like it does on mine at the moment. I just sit idly seeing everything around me, doing nothing. I breathe. I think. À ce moment là, je pense que je suis content. Et c’est bien.

These days I go to the office quite often, and come back home around five o’clock in the afternoon. Petals of bougainvillea are rolling in the wind that is playing on my cheeks and my arms.

I come to learn to stop staring at the computer screen and reloading the email every minute. I come to realise that I have so many things to do, I have to work. There are opportunities out there and I can always try, again and again. I have grown to love every option I have at hand. I started to enroll in an online course in Italian. I read Butler, whose ideas I really like and I believe I could write better essays after reading her (I wrote an essay on Woolf’s Orlando as a part of my application to the university, and it contributed partly to the offer I was made). I bought more books which I will read later on, when I have enough free time. Et je fais quelque chose pour améliorer mon français.

I think about how I, as an editor, write formal rejection letters to aspiring writers every month.

Perhaps, I am, like everyone else, too anxious.

And rejection is inevitable. Voilà, c’est ça!

2 thoughts on “On rejection

  1. I was to inform you I got an offer without scholarship from Erasmus Mundus but you’d deactivated your Facebook account, I thought so. It is more bearable than the first time. The only thing we can do about it is to carry on, I think.

    • Great to hear that you got an offer, though without a scholarship. At least the selection panel acknowledge that you are academically competent. Have you had the interview with Chev? Hope that you will secure an award this year. Anyway, every application is a journey I think. and whatever the result may be, it is worth it. And well, there are a lot of ways to knowledge.
      with best wishes and look forward to hearing more good news from you.

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