Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Built It Long Before They Came

I may not have time to write this blog. I took too long playing with the title. I love titles of all stripes but I'm secretly envious of short ones as I can't seem to use 'em. My muse likes to tell the whole dang story in the heading and then just elaborate until she loses focus. Case in point: One of the discarded titles for this piece was "No Taught Me More Than Yes Every Could". See what I mean? You pretty much know where I'm headed now, don't you? Well, fair warning: don't get comfortable. The muse she is a fickle one.

One day when I've gotten a large number of the projects/manuscripts/ideas/words out of my head that are presently demanding their say, I intend to write a book on the blessed power of "No." I feel sorry for No. It's a very good word with a very poor reputation. (I imagine No is probably very jealous of how much everyone likes Yes, but that's just me.)

I don't mean to brag, but I'm something of an authority on the word No. I'm talking serious credentials. I've heard more than my fair share of No, and I'm not talking about your standard No's. While I realize all writers are familiar with No, I may possibly have some of the best No stories ever recorded.

For instance, one fine day, prior to any sort of publishing success, I was sitting at my desk filing the most recent rejection slip, when I got an email response from a publisher. "Dear Ms. Tomlinson," it read, "thank you for submitting your work for our review. We are interested in publishing your manuscript." Well, yippy skippy! It had finally happened. Who to call? What to do? Alas, before I had time to strike up the band another note dinged into my inbox from the same editor.

"Dear Ms. Tomlinson," this one read, "I'm so sorry, but I've just noticed that I inadvertently made a mistake in my previous email. My letter was supposed to read, we are not interested in publishing..." Enough. You get the picture. I'm opening up old wounds here and they're all mine. For the record, I still think they should have had to publish my book out of nothing more than good manners. I mean, who forgets the word "No" (or any form thereof) when writing a rejection slip?

When I write my No book, I'll put that little tale in there, along with a ton of other rejection follies, but then I'll turn the page and the real story will begin. I will tell of what No did for me, how it taught me, goaded me, pushed me, and challenged me, and how it built a website called All Things Southern that not only became the tool that eventually saw the initial goal realized, but has since taken me on a journey I never could have foreseen had "Yes" come easy all those years ago. No, thank you.


All Things Southern, "Bringing you the charm and heritage of the South..."

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