Pre-Rejection, or, Picking Scabs, or, Salt in the Wound
I think that hearing about rejection a single time should be enough. But that's not the way things work anymore.
For example--all November I waited and waited for a phone call from Cliff Becker and the NEA telling me that the third time was a charm--I was going to be one of the recipients of an artist's fellowship. I was ready to go with a demand for a raise at work, a new line on my resume, etc. But before I had a chance to not get my phone call the buzz started. Names of brilliant poets were spoken, and mine was absent from the list. What the hell? Why were they yanking my chain?
I was disappointed about this and worked hard to make peace with it. (Mopoing around, drinking too much wine for a few days in a row.) Then I was over it. Then I got the "We're so sorry" note a week or so later and had to begin the process again.
I do not like this. I do not like rejection. I really do not like pre-rejection. But that's what I got today. So I find myself moping around, waiting for that other shoe to hit me in the back of the head while I fret over new work, looking over my shoulder at a half empty bottle of wine.