I Reject!

We all hate rejection. I’ve always felt I was even more rejection-averse than most people. I’ve felt like I’ve had full-out rejection phobia. It kept me from dating a lot. It kept me from pursuing more aggressive career goals. It’s kept me from entering contests. You get the picture.

Now that I’ve left the cushy world of paycheck-every-other-week corporate life and entered the cut-throat world of commercial publishing, I find myself eating rejection for breakfast. It comes in different forms: rejected proposals, poor reviews, few web hits, fewer sales. Each one of these still stabs me in the gut.

The good news is, I think I’m finally getting used to it. I’m getting better at not letting it affect me. You get rejected enough this will happen, I promise you.

If anything, each rejection becomes fuel to improve. If enough agents won’t represent you, there’s a reason. If someone doesn’t like your book, they’re entitled. If you still want to do this, try harder. You can learn lessons trying to reinvent yourself at 60.

You can also just say, “What the fuck?” like in Risky Business, and really mean it. The world isn’t fair so don’t take it personally. If you not only wear your thoughts on your sleeve but decide you want to share them with the world, be ready for the backlash.

The alternative is to live in a shell. Tempting. But I’m not there yet.


Another Sign of the Apocalypse?

As I waited on hold for my radio appearance on the Paul Miller Morning Show on WPHM in Port Huron, Michigan, I heard the newsman report that boxes of Cracker Jack would no longer include a toy. You heard me. The most distinguishing thing about this product was the toy. It sure wasn’t the quality of the caramel corn.

Cracker Jack is replacing the toy with a code for an app through which you can get a digital toy. I mentioned this in my interview when we were discussing the difference between the generation gap in the 1960s and today. I said something like the generation gap between us Baby Boomers and our parents was more ideological and the gap between us and Millennials is more technological.

Paul said kids today would probably rather have the app than the toy. There you go, I said.

Whether the prize was an iron-on tattoo, miniature book or one of those little plastic tops, it was a toy! An an actual toy! Do kids today even play with tops? Do they know what they are? If you could get one of those Cracker Jack tops to spin more than a couple revolutions you were doing good. But we played with them anyway.

If kids today would really rather have the code to an app than a toy, the generation gap is wider than I thought. It could even be yet another sign of the apocalypse.