I’ve written a few heavy-duty posts lately so I think today I’ll take time out for something a little more light-hearted. I’m following the examples of both my always-optimistic and hard-working sister, Maggie Pols Mercer, and also of my writer-friend Rachael Hanel. Each frequently posts “3 Things Making Me Happy This Week.” The only difference is that I’m adding categories, because that’s the way I am.
I. HAPPINESS ABOUT THE POLITICAL
Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows I’m a bad Catholic, and one who might like to be a better Catholic if only a few things were to change. You may not know that my mother’s parents arrived from Ireland to New York City in the early 20th century; my mother is, proudly, 100% Irish, and I claim full 50% Irish heritage.
So it is also with real pride that I, and the rest of the world, learned this week that Ireland is the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote. By a near 2:1 margin, at that.
In a CNN online article, Una Mullally of the Irish Times is quoted as saying,
“A lot of straight Irish people just wanted to be given the opportunity to show that they were not prejudiced, that they had no issue with people who were gay having their relationships recognized, that they wanted to live in a country where all citizens are valued equally.”
The article continues:
It became a cause. Ireland has today a strong sense that, at long last, it has consigned to history a dark past — a past which produced cruel institutions for unmarried mothers, like the convent featured in the movie “Philomena”; which allowed a powerful church to cover up clerical crimes, and which stigmatized those who yearned for the love that dared not speak its name.
Yup. Very happy to be Irish this week.
II. HAPPINESS ABOUT THE PROFESSIONAL
Through a Facebook friend, Suzanne Michele Brazil,I found this article: Submit Like a Man: How Women Writers Can Be More Successful, by Kelli Russell Agodon. Read it if you’re a writer and especially if you’re female and have received a “Sorry, no, but please submit again” rejection. It seems men are more likely to take this advice straight up and, well, submit again! Sometimes nearly instantaneously. Women, alas, not so much.
I shared the article on my Facebook page with a story of my own. I have been lucky enough to get a few such rejections, and early on I turned right around and submitted another story. (On Facebook, one woman comments that the reason she might not have re-submit immediately is that she often wouldn’t have another story appropriate for that journal; fair enough, but if I felt I did, I submitted something else within days.) Until, that is, at AWP or maybe it was a summer writing conference where I heard otherwise from a (male) editor of a much-acclaimed literary journal, one which receives upwards of 10,000 submissions/month.
It wasn’t so much the message as the way it was delivered–and maybe male writers aren’t quite as sensitive to this kind of nonsense, but I was. The implication was that it wasn’t done. Kind of like talking too loud and too fast (of which I have accused on many occasions). Or having that second (third?) piece of pie (ditto–accused and indicted). The implication was, If you had any class, any remnant of dignity, you’d back off/slow down/shut up/reign yourself in. And wait an unspecified but apparently known-to-the-few amount of time to try again.
The saddest thing is that I hadn’t felt disempowered before I heard this man’s opinion. And then I did. Disempowered and a little ashamed. Too eager. Wanting something too much.
But Kelli Russell Agodon set me straight:
And if you get this note [some variation of “Please submit again” or “We’d like to see more of your work”] on your rejection slip, send them more work and within the next two months of receiving the note. No later. I mean it. You have permission to respond quickly and professionally. And no one thinks anything bad of you. Promise.
You are not being pushy or rude, you are taking care of your writing life.
Yup. Happy about that, too.
III. HAPPINESS ABOUT THE PERSONAL
My sister visited last week, and my daughter will arrive for a nice long visit this coming week. And my husband and both my kids and my son-in-law and all my sisters and brothers-in-law and nieces and nephews and their significant others and my mother (to whom my late, great, sorely missed father used to say, when all 20+ of us had a chance to get together, “See what you did?”) will spend a week in one big house on the ocean, very soon.
Yup. Good week. Happy about a lot of things, and grateful to be happy.