THIS IS WHAT REJECTION LOOKS LIKE
I just logged into the Brown application website to try to view my MFA rejection letter. It’s no longer there. I am wondering where it went. My status is simply “submitted” and no longer rejected. Could my rejection have been revoked? No, probably not. There is probably a demon in their system affording me this glimmer of false hope—like dreaming of your crush putting the moves on you. The first thing I actually thought was, “What am I going to tell my parents?” They are used to me always being “the best” and are far more invested in my success than I am. I told them not to get their hopes up. I put together a typo-filled portfolio the night before it was due because I was visiting my mom who was in the hospital from a suicide attempt and applying to grad school was the last thing on my mind. But I had an application waiver, so I sent it off with a statement that basically said, “I’m sorry this is bad. My life is a wreck right now.”
Luckily, I copy and pasted the rejection letter into my long poem before it disappeared:
Dear lowly—I mean lonely—one,
This is Tupac Shakur
I am speaking from the kingdom beyond the crack
I am also an alien and member of the blob you wish to join
This is not a form letter
I take the time to reply to each application personally
Actually, you’re the only one who applied
So this might become a form letter eventually
I’m sorry, we cannot offer you space in our kingdom
I regret to inform you that the Literary Arts, MFA – Fiction Program did not approve your application for admission to Brown University’s Graduate School for the 2011-2012 academic year. Admission decisions are made on a comparative basis and are the result of a careful evaluation of each candidate’s application, taking into account academic achievement, preparation for advanced study, and other supporting materials.
The majority of those who apply to the Graduate School have strong qualifications and demonstrate an ability to do advanced academic work. We regret that we have to disappoint many bright and talented students.
Thank you for your interest in Brown. I wish you the best in your academic endeavors.
Peter M. Weber
Dean of the Graduate School
The Kingdom Beyond the Crack
I just wanted to let you know, if you get rejected, it’s not because you are bad.
The first thing I thought was, “Why hasn’t anyone told me that I’m a bad writer until now?”
It’s everything except BECAUSE YOU ARE BAD.
(This is me trying to convince myself.)
It’s because the world isn’t ready.
It’s because nobody knows how to think of your work yet.
It’s because you’re an unapologetic and sloppy fuck up who lets it show.
It’s because your works stinks but you like it stinky.
It’s because you’re too fucking disorganized to copy and paste your scattered stories into a word document that looks nice.
It’s because you fell asleep without doing your application telling yourself tomorrow but didn’t wake up in time.
What if I just “applied” myself?
I am wondering about the distinction between depression and laziness
Not today no I cannot do it today maybe never I am VERY tired
When I purge my energy I purge everything
I purged my energy
I am ashamed of these attempts at looking presentable
That’s the bigger failure—giving in
Wandering away from your vision because you are seduced by the image of making it.
Are there such things as passionate underachievers?
The truth is I am confused about what I am supposed to do
As a writer
I haven’t got a rich husband and the amount in my bank account just keeps going down
My parents say, “What are you doing? Your older brother is in prison for life and your little brother can’t get a job at McDonalds and we don’t have jobs ourselves—we need someone to take care of us you are our only hope.”
I suffer life’s indignities the best I can
I’ve worked my share of shit jobs and I guess they can be fodder for funny stories but it still doesn’t make living through it any easier
Making it makes explaining “what you do” easier to strangers
Makes the question less shameful
Sometimes I did it because the only way I could continue my work was by hearing
YOU ARE NOT BAD!
I started to care but now I am back on the edge on the fringe of everything even my mind
Some other person’s value-system unraveling again
COME BACK YOU COULD BE GOOD
I am sorry this is making me insane besides the quality of my art I have my mental health to worry about
And this is all weighing on me in this very weird way
So I will be returning my “writer” card now
I am sorry
A weakling—I know
Not a giant or genius I know but it was never about that for me
So you’re going to have to find someone else to seduce because I am not easy
I know you think American girls are easy
I’m too grossed out by your advances and maybe I am uptight I don’t know
I resent that my subconscious response is often “ooohh maybe I am desirable”
Because it puts my worth in your hands
Because at the end of the day you win
Because I am not strong enough to generate enough self-love on my own
I dream of writers I know rejecting me (romantically!)
Excuses utopianism delusions
That’s all this is
This “no standards” bullshit
You’re all lazy shitheads
But the point is I need it to be open in order to live and YOU’RE KILLING EVERYTHING, INCLUDING YOURSELVES
Chill out, man
Sorry I got carried away
Maybe the only thing gained by this mania is
THE LOSS OF FEAR
Fear keeps you in check, makes you stronger greater bigger faster BETTER
I know what you mean, I do
Weak, I know
A failure, I know
A reject—I concur!
Everything they say is true.
I’m not fighting it but I am fighting it
By not giving a shit