Stick Out your Neck


Failure. Rejection. These are scary words. Because I’ve worked as an actor and had aspirations on the poetry front, I have had innumerable opportunities to experience rejection. The acting rejection is usually quiet–they just never call you back in for a second audition. The publication rejection is more forthright–you get a letter in the mail (usually in an envelope you addressed to yourself many months before) with a brief (usually very brief) announcement that: Thanks but no thanks and we wish you luck.

The first couple of these letters were rough–how could my most favorite magazines not want to run my poems?! But after a few go-rounds, I realized that the rejection letter is actually a cause for:


Yep, celebration. The same with failures and rejections of all sorts. See, you can only get rejected if you put yourself out there–if you’re in the game. And being in the game is 85%* of the battle. It’s difficult and it’s commendable and it’s the only way you’re ever going to succeed.

So stick your neck out, like this guy I saw at the zoo yesterday. Fail. Fail better. Fail with gusto. Fail until you succeed.