Having just had rejected three hard-won poems (this following a very long period in a sort of creative cone of silence), I’m self-administering a couple of drafts of well-constituted reassurance.
The first is in the form of a rejection letter with a difference. It’s been blowing around the ether since the early days of the blogging boom and I offer it now to all those in the throes of serial job application who might need it. It certainly beats the hell out of, ‘Stuff your fucking job, you turd-burgling tit-trumpeters!’
Thank you for your letter rejecting my application for employment with your firm.
I have received rejections from an unusually large number of exceptionally well
qualified organizations. With such a varied and promising spectrum of rejections from which to select, it is impossible for me to consider them all.
After careful deliberation, then, and because a number of firms have found me more unsuitable, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your rejection. Despite your company’s outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet with my requirements at this time. As a result, I shall be starting employment with your firm on the first of the month.
Circumstances change and one can never know when new demands for rejection arise. Accordingly, I will keep your letter on file in case my requirements for rejection change. Please do not regard this letter as a criticism of your qualifications in attempting to refuse me employment. I wish you the best of luck in rejecting future candidates.
The second is a piece of well-turned wisdom from one of my favourite poets, R.S. Thomas. Have this embroidered into a sampler & hung in a prominent place.
If a poet realises that it has been his privilege to have a certain gift in the manipulation of language (language being the supreme human manifestation) then he is obviously committed from the very beginning to a lifetime of self-discipline, struggle, disappointment, failure, with just possibly the odd success which is greater in his eyes than it probably is in the eyes of anyone else.
That rejection letter is brilliant – I’ll save it for when I might need it!
A brilliant quote from RS Thomas. I go on holiday to N Wales for two weeks every year and quite often visit Aberdaron. There was a good exhibition a few years back of his wife, Mildred Eldridge’s work at the art gallery in Llanbedrog.
As for the rejection letter. It’s very funny. I would just add the thought that a job interview is a two way process – I can think of at least one job I applied for in my youth which I wish, looking back, I’d turned down. I had misgivings at the interview but brushed them aside when I got the offer. I had to move to take it and good things came of the move – but the job was truly awful, looking back. It makes me think that rejection -particularly if one already has a job and is not desperate for the opportunity- can sometimes be a lucky escape.
Mildred was, kind of inevitably, in his shadow, and Thomas took no great interest inner work. All credit to her creative power and sense of independent self that she persevered so productively.
I guess I was lucky with the various jobs I did before deciding that rock’n’roll didn’t want me on board and so took up teaching. But earlier on in the submission-of-verse process I was occasionally published in mags that I hadn’t properly researched and which on scrutiny turned out to be carrying a payload of Christmas card-style verse. Always a struggle then between a sense of superiority and humility!