July 18, 2010 by Kat Richter
It’s Sunday morning and I find myself, quite inexplicably, halfway through July. Common wisdom would suggest it’s not just me: that everyone is finding themselves halfway through July but I’m nothing if not a bit self absorbed.
On that note, I’m sure you’re very curious to know what I’ve been doing since my return to the US. I’m curious too, because after nearly a week back in Philadelphia, I have very little to show for myself. Having resisted the urge to go crawling back to The Shop, I am now officially self-employed. You’d think that this means I would have unpacked, done laundry, sorted through the boxes (yes, that’s plural) of paperwork I’ve been avoiding since the first time I came back from London six months ago. But self-employment is quite different from unemployment (even if my bank statements would suggest otherwise).
Upon returning to Philadelphia, I found two rather important envelopes. The first contained a check from MacFadden Publishing for the profile I wrote on the University of East London’s Urban Dance Programme for Dance Teacher Magazine. This means that I’ve finally banked my first thousand dollars as a freelancer. Too bad it’s taken since my senior year of college to reach this point (which means an average annual income of Entirely Too Depressing to Calculate) but it’s a start.
The second contained… drum roll, please… my first official rejection letter. News of this sort might seem like an odd thing to post online for the world to see but it was a lovely letter—the loveliest rejection letter a writer could hope to receive—and as such, I’m actually quite proud. Rejection letters, you see, are a rite of passage. All writers get rejection letters, even those who go on to publish best sellers eventually, and as such I’m in very good company.
And it wasn’t a question of bad writing. It was a question of marketing, which, I must admit, came as little surprise (I have an MA in Dance Anthropology for crying out loud; commercial potential has never ranked very highly amongst my concerns). The agent encouraged me to seek a second opinion, gave me an entire paragraph of feedback and —this is the best part—said she’d love to take a look at the novel I’m working on once I’ve finished it.
Not bad for my first rejection letter. And not bad, all things considered, for my first week back in Philadelphia.