I had the pleasure of talking to the Hampshire Writers' Society last night, and one subject came up aplenty and guided me to today's subject for musing.
It's something which strikes at the heart of we fragile human things, and which dominates many of our fears. In a word, it's rejection.
My first memory of the dreaded feeling was from age about five or six. There was a singing lesson at school, and some of the class were selected to be recorded warbling Christmas carols. The teacher went around listening to the various children and picked them out, one by one. I'm sure my memory is making this worse, but the way I recall it is that every other kid got chosen, apart from me and the smelly boy in the corner who no one liked.
Cue constant waves of tears, all the way home and long into the evening.
And then come the rejections of later years - of first loves when the heart is lanced through with a blade of ice, of first jobs, when the stomach sinks lower than the deepest pit of the Pacific Ocean at that bland letter, thanking you for your interest, but...
Last night we were talking about being rejected as a writer. The fall, I can tell you, is no easier now than with first loves or first jobs. You have this great idea for a book (at least, you think so), you fall in love with it, you plan and plot it, you work on the characters, you write the thing, then re write and re write time and again, and then finally, all that time later, you send it to some publishers...
... who - almost inevitably - don't want it.
And maybe the tears aren't so obvious as they were 35 years ago, but the feeling inside is no different.
So, I was able to sympathise with those members of the society who had tasted the acrid bitterness of rejection. And all I can offer in return is the reassurance that everyone gets rejected in the writing world. It's a rite of passage, nothing less.
And all the advice I can offer is to try to match the natural disappointment with another basic human emotion - resilience. Get back up and try again, and keep trying, because the editors by no means get it right all the time. By no means!
Take this legendary rejection of a rather well-known woek. It went along the lines of "the girl having no special insight which sets this book above the curiousity level".
Really? Hmmmm... that was on Anne Frank's diary! So there, literary editors!
Anyway, before I really start going on (told you rejection has quite a lasting effect!) my thanks to all at the Hampshire Writers, for making me so very welcome and for laughing at all the right places in the talk.
It's much appreciated, I hope to see you all again, and most importantly, don't forget - don't give up!
Finally for this entry, I've got a few more events coming up - if you're interested, for more details keep an eye on the News and Events page - www.thetvdetective.com/news.html