...And my first rejection.
It was for a short story anthology. The editor said it was a good story, just not what she envisioned for the anthology and added I should sumit to other markets. It looked like a form letter (my sister also submitted and received the exact same thing), but it's still encouraging.
Would have been more encouraging to get accepted, but that's how it goes. I've always been afraid of rejection. I wanted people to like me, I didn't like to get into fights, and I'm a horrible devil's advocate sometimes. But I knew, if I wanted to be a writer, rejection was going to happen.
I stood on the teetering beam of confidence, on one end, the inflamed ego a writer needs to be able to get herself out of bed in the morning, with the certainty that she will be published despite the odds. On the other end, a somewhat self-deprecating humility. The absolute sense that I will never make it and the odds are against me and I'll never be published.
I'm somewhere in the middle, hopefully with a realistic sense of the possibilities, with the hope of getting published, the confidence to think my work is good enough, while still being aware and accepting of the numbers involved, how many people get agents, get into anthologies, get published, and then are successful at it.
The numbers aren't good, but I'm willing to make the effort. This submission and rejection was the first step. But the destination is pretty far to walk.