When I was graduating from college, looking for my first newspaper reporting job, I taped a map of the country to the wall in my mom’s basement and pushed a pin into every city where I’d sent my resume.
As the form rejection letters came back, I taped them to the map, figuring it was something of a numbers game, that more rejections got me a little bit closer to the elusive yes out there.
So I love Lauren McCabe’s blog post about a woman who sewed her rejection letters into a dress for her Mardi Gras costume. I love the idea of celebrating putting yourself out there doing what you love, even if it means hearing no more often than getting a yes.
I imagined her before she was the woman in an extraordinary dress, what she must have done as the days and months and years of rejection surmounted: collected each slip in a dresser drawer, the one just below her socks, just in case she needed to recall who had denied her.
One day, opening the drawer to a sea of vibrant paper, she imagined that the rejection letters were no longer rejection letters but folds of a strange and beautiful silk, variegated in hue and texture and luster.
She gathered the material in her arms, released it onto the floor and began sewing steadily, patiently, until each and every single inch of rejection was accounted for in a dress as large and full as a fairytale.
On the theme of “try, try again,” here’s a collection of famous authors who were originally rejected and Mental Floss has actual rejection letters sent to U2, Andy Warhol, Tim Burton and Jim Lee, among others.