A Worse Thing than Being Accepted

I didn’t realise there was anything worse than being accepted, until yesterday.

I’ve just had an acceptance and I am very annoyed. In fact at one point I was filled with rage. I sent in three haibun, each one elegantly and interestingly crafted and probably some of the best work I have ever done. I also sent in seven tanka to make the numbers up and see how the tanka are going. I’ve only just started writing them and have had one accepted, so they seem to be hitting the mark. However, they are just lightweight 5 line poems compared to the more serious business of writing haibun. They are also, let’s face it, a lot easier than haiku – two extra lines and fewer rules make for a more relaxed writing experience.

You can see where this is heading already, can’t you?

None of the haibun were required and one of the tanka was accepted. My first reaction was disbelief, then, as read the email again (because I’d clearly missed something first time) extreme annoyance.  I’d just spent the best part of a year on the haibun, editing, cutting, polishing and letting them mature (all the stuff you are supposed to do), and they were tossed to one side in favour of something that took me five minutes.

However, after sleep and breakfast I’m looking on it as just one more manifestation of the mystery of interaction with editors. I will put it down to experience, use it for the basis of a blog post and, eventually use it in  a magazine article about rejection. But most of all I will look at my work critically and try to work out why it took a year to produce a bad haibun. I used to be able to that in twenty minutes. I’m getting slower  . . .


17 thoughts on “A Worse Thing than Being Accepted

  1. RebelliousStudent

    Ah, that’s definitely an interesting experience so to say. I don’t think I’ve ever had a situation similar to this kind, but I can certainly understand why that would be frustrating. Keep your head up!

  2. Clare Pooley

    I am sorry for the rejection of all your submitted haibun. My elder daughter always enjoyed and worked hard at her English at A’ Level and at university. She would spend days getting her work just right and always got average marks. She always did extremely well with the subjects she liked the least and spent the least time on. I think she overworked her essays as maybe you have done with your haibun?

  3. Helen

    I’m sorry you had these rejections. Maybe editors’ choices are more about what they’ve decided they want before they read.

  4. Lavinia Ross

    There is a high degree of subjectivity in the arts, and one never knows what will strike some judges fancy. Even horse shows can work this way. A friend once told me she asked a judge what she and her horse did wrong in a particular competition, as she thought they both performed well, but did not even place. She was told, “I just don’t like your horse”.

  5. tootlepedal

    Maybe the haibun were so classy that they would have made the rest of the contributions look poor and the editor wisely rejected them on these grounds. (Maybe they were overworked?)

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Yes, it’s probably a combination of overworking them and taking myself too seriously. 😉

      I will tweak them and send them out again. If they all come back again it will give me a better idea of the quality.


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