Jay Neugeboren: Rejected, if not despised
The following quote is from The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft
, written by George Gissing, more than a century ago. It is quoted by Jay Neugeboren, reviewing in the December 17 edition of The New York Review of Books
the latest book by Michael Greenberg. It should provide some nice, luke-warm comfort to rejected writers everywhere.
And why should any man [sic] who writes, even if he writes things immortal, nurse anger at the world's neglect? Who asked him to publish? Who promised him a hearing? Who has broken faith with him? If my shoemaker turn me out an excellent pair of boots, and I, in some mood of cantankerous unreason, throw them back upon his hands, the man has just cause of complaint. But your poem, your novel, who bargained with you for it?
Neugeboren notes that by his count, he had accumulated 576 rejections before he sold his first story, and more than "two thousand rejections on eight unpublished books" before he sold his first novel. So, what's it worth for us? Constant rejection, or just the sliver of the hope of acceptance?