I’ve been pitching and putting myself out there as a writer and sculptor more than usual, which means I’ve had more stories published this year than ever, but it also means I have been getting rejected enough to bring back the horrible, almost hysterical feeling of attending seventh grade social dances.
Here’s the math: For every pitch that generates a go ahead, I get 10 to 20 rejections. It takes me at least an hour or two to research a new publication, find out if they’ve done my story idea before, find the editor’s contact information, put together a targeted pitch in a voice that is both uniquely mine and hopefully, appealing to them. For every lovingly crafted pitch I send out in a hopeful little hot air balloon of an email, I actually hear back from about 20% of them. That’s a response rate of 1 out of 5 pitches. Sadly, 50 – 75% of those responses are a thanks but no thanks. Which kind of makes me feel hopeful but kind of makes me want to set myself on fire.
All of this rejection is enough to make a person feel bad about themselves! That’s why I started Whoosh! The Zine for Whale Lovers. So that I could have a place to put the stories about whales that I wanted to write. A place where I got to be the cover story, feature story, star interviewer and head photographer. Whoosh! The Zine for Whale Lovers is very healing for me, but today my application for a press pass got rejected by the American Cetacean Society for their annual conference because they have better, more influential, more real writers and photographers attending who will be covering the event as volunteers, so are not giving out press passes to media serfs like me. In the past five days, publications I have been rejected by or didn’t hear back from include: Outside Magazine, Outside Online, Western Living, Budget Travel, Sunset Magazine, and Family Fun.
All of this rejection is starting to make me cross.
Or maybe it’s just the fertility drugs talking.
Anyway. I decided to interview myself as a way to boost my spirits, since little makes me as cheerful as the opportunity to talk about myself. So, here is an interview with me by me about what it is like to be me:
Me: Hi Katherina. Thanks for agreeing to this interview today.
Me: No problem, Katherina. I’m actually busy procrastinating right now so the timing works out well.
Me: Oh? What are you procrastinating about today?
Me: Some story about birds in Eastern Oregon and a website that I’m having a hard time finalizing the content and design on. I’ve been avoiding meditating for two days now. Also, I have to go to the bathroom, but have been putting that off for a while, too.
Me: It sounds like you’ve got a lot of interesting stuff going on.
Me: Oh, you don’t know the half of it! I’m also working on two neat sculptures that are still in the secret stages, a story about walruses, a book about my year as a go go dancer in Greece and a zine about my body hair problems. And you ought to hear the pitches I’ve been sending out. So many great story ideas, all dressed up and nowhere to go!
Me: How did you get to be so fascinating?
Me: Oh stop. I blame my genes, actually. My mom told me I was supposed to be born with severe health and or mental problems. Instead, I just came out like me. Since I didn’t get born with severe developmental problems, every morning, I wake up relieved down to my bones every day that I am healthy and smart and not in pain and have an unavoidable compulsion to celebrate my good fortune by making and doing cool shit. Also, I am pretty sure that my angels or guides or saints or god or the universe or whatever you want to call it would be pretty disappointed when I am come to the end of it all again and we are having our post mortem review if I spent my whole life avoiding my bliss for the safe route.
Me: So what’s the walrus story about?
Me: It’s not ready yet. But here’s a picture I took of a walrus moments before it began abusing itself:
Me: How about those secret sculptures?
Me: Mum’s the word. Want to hear about my body hair problems?
Me: Not really.
Me: Oh. I guess you don’t want to hear about the fertility drugs either then, huh. My husband told me yesterday that they are making me an average of 15 – 20% more impatient and cranky than usual. And then I bit his head off and ate it! But later, upon further reflection, I realized, that’s a whole lot of cranky!
Me: Yeah. Thanks. No. How about you tell us about the go go dancing memoir? A lot of the meat in that story has already been published.
Me: Oh, that. Well, that’s going to be a book about the time I went to Crete, fresh out of college with a degree in Ancient Religion, and spent a year learning as much as I possibly could from this little village while working as an illegal immigrant in a variety of jobs. I had two jobs as a bar girl, where I had to dress up in tight sexy clothes and stand in the middle of the bar as bait so that men would come in and buy drinks. Most nights, it took 3 Amstels to get me onto the bar top and dancing.
Me: So you weren’t naked?
Me: Nope. I wore clothes the whole time.
Me: What was your favorite part about being a bar girl?
Me: Throwing empty champagne glasses onto the floor from the bar top. I’ve always loved breaking things and it was a real relief to live in a place where smashing your plate on the ground was a culturally acceptable alternative to an exclamation point at the end of a sentence.
Me: Yeah, I can see how you would like that.
Me: Okay. I’ve got to go now. The story is calling.
Me: Great. Thanks for your time. Maybe we can continue this interview another day.
Me: Maybe. Okay goodbye.