Oh, those sweet nothings whispered in the ear, the breathy purr, the "No. Get lost." Doesn't it get you excited?
Rejection! Everyone has to have an opinion on rejection. So my question is: Are there good rejections? Are there rejections that encourage you?
I got a rejection today, and it was of the "good" variety, if there is such a thing. I'd sent a story to AGNI, a pro literary magazine edited by a major American critic, Sven Birkerts. Rejection... but a perosalized and flattering one. He made a point to state this was not a normal rejection note, and went on to praise my story and lively writing and to say that he definitely wanted me to submit new stories. What does this mean? Well, I guess it means a major critic likes my writing, which is confirming in a way. It's "good". Not as good, say, as an acceptance. Or, you know, money. But a good that's better than a bad, at least. Right track? I hope so.
It's odd getting back into the whole short story thing. I wrote a few back in my gradschool days, got a few published, and then spent a number of years working on long novel projects. But the last year or two I've reacquired a taste for the short story (and had to relearn, in a sense, the whole form, as I'd forgotten - or never known - a fair number of things). And now I have a little pile of them and it's time to send them out into the world. Back out into Acceptance and Rejection Land, always a mystical place of subjectivity, a surreal landscape guarded by grad students, quirky eccentrics and gaggles of squint-eyed and jaded writers (kinfolk, of course).
So now that I'm back "out there" I guess it's time to revisit some of my ideas on rejection (many of which were formulated during my time as an editor). So... opinions? Are there helpful rejections? What's your attitude towards them? No emotion, file them away... stew a bit, get on with things... hysterical breakdown... crying jags... alcohol and pill benders... And do you distinguish between different types? What was the most helpful or motivating rejection you've had? If you have a story, lay it on me.