Can you hear them? The dulcet tones of rejection. Notes not written in e-mail or archaic pages, but the simple, gaping lack of a name on a list of finalists.
Maybe it's better this way. It is more impersonal than some form letter - a formulaic "Dear Writer, You suck and we couldn't possible publish your drivel in our paragon journal of modern fiction." OK. I have not received one even close to that, but my insecurity leaves even the most mundane, "Thanks, but sorry," the way it wants. And I did aim high- one of the more prestigious literary journals.
I am disappointed, but surprisingly not devastated. I think my writerly skin is thickening. I can look at this objectively and tell myself that the story I submitted is a hard one to place. It doesn't really fit neatly into a genre; it blurs the line between poetry and prose. There is a place for it somewhere and I am convinced it is worthy of publication. It's up to me to find its niche.
It is another example of how writing is becoming my job- the creative side and the administrative aspect, because finding appropriate markets takes time, sometimes as much or more than the actual creative process.
Meanwhile, my office is nearly finished. It awaits some pictures on the walls, the aging laptop on the desk, and my butt in the chair.
Let the submission process recommence.