“When he was young, Bob Dylan sang about things outside. Now he sings about the things inside. Inside is scarier.”
~ Things I Should Have Told My Daughter by Pearl Cleage
When I first got the email, I was relieved. Who in their right mind actually wants to get up in front of a crowd to tell a story? It is terrifying and nauseating, and guaranteed, I’d be on edge the whole week leading up do it. But now, this email tells me that I don’t have to. Whew! Sure I submitted a story and said that I wanted to get on stage to tell it, but now I don’t have to. Because they don’t want me to.
Not exactly my ideal jumping off point after my inspiring, let’s-get-down-to-business writing getaway (though I’m sticking by my last post about Why You Should Plan a Writing Getaway Immediately).
As this day has progressed, I’m feeling more and more down about it. The rejection email was worded nicely enough, and I personally know the people that read my story – and rejected it. Does that make it better or worse?? They told me that they had received a lot of great submissions this month and suggested that I re-work the story for a future storytelling event with them. But, still. Rejection is no fun.
All of that being said, though, at least I put something out there to get rejected. I told a story with FST! (Female StoryTellers) a little over a year ago (see: How gay became okay for me), but had not submitted any queries or writing to anyone since then. Of course, I had been focusing mostly on getting this blog up and going – and to my credit, I’ve successfully been blogging for more than a year now! So that is good. But I know that I need to get out there more. I need to look at different avenues for getting my voice into the world. And rejection is part of that.
Now that I got that off my chest, let’s actually talk about my writing getaway in Bisbee, Arizona! I’ve included lots of photos because Bisbee is awesome for that. It is a quiet little town about 90 minutes southeast of Tucson near the border of Mexico. Older hippies and younger nomads flock to this creative, liberal-minded town where houses perch on hillsides like goats on a mountain. It was the perfect locale for me to get away and write!
As I’ve been talking with people, they all seem to be shocked that I only went for a 24-hour, one night getaway, as if that is not enough time to do anything. But I think that having just one night puts pressure on a writer to really utilize time well and make the most of it! I can honestly say that I used my time incredibly well, got a lot of writing and research done, and enjoyed every minute of it! So don’t hold off on your writing getaway just because you think you need more time – while it would be great to go for longer, 24 hours will do you just fine. I arrived in Bisbee at 11am and left at 10am the next day. Of course, I only had to drive 90 minutes to get there. If you’re going somewhere further away, you obviously will need to add more time to your trip accordingly.
Talking with other people about the idea of finding a place to hide and write also made me realize that a writer’s work is oftentimes not respected as work – and perhaps that’s because we, as writers, don’t categorize it that way. Writing is an adventure. Writing is fun, and exhilarating, and interesting. But it also takes time and dedication – which is the work part. Maybe if we talked to non-writers (aka our friends and families) about the “work” part of it, we would be able to get more writing done and be less in need of a writing getaway. Instead, we let outside pressures take time away from our work because we are too afraid to claim the writer’s title. We are afraid to claim greatness.
That being said, as we all work on claiming our greatness and legitimizing ourselves as writers, taking a writing getaway can help us gain some clarity. Figure out what direction to go. Decide if we want to be great. And maybe turn up the heat a little bit. Thanks to one of my favorite bloggers, Alice, for commenting yesterday with this quote that is very apropos:
“I tend to write only when the pot boils over, but I have learned how to turn up the heat.” ~Marvin Bell
Bisbee has a LOT of stairs due to the steep foothills on which its Victorian and European-style houses are nestled. In fact, they have what is called the Bisbee 1000 where participants are challenged with climbing over 1000 stairs on a course that takes them around scenic old Bisbee.
Belleza art gallery also sells garden furniture made by formerly homeless women who are part of a GED and job training program. The fine art in the gallery, by local and nationally recognized artists, is also pretty spectacular. I just need a little more money!
Bisbee is filled with beautiful buildings, houses, churches, and graffiti art!
Shout out to Cafe Cornucopia for serving me the most delicious plate of quiche with homemade bread and a salad that I will probably ever eat!
And to Bisbee Coffee Company for a scrumptious croissant (below). If you go, definitely get the Mexican Mocha!
So all in all, I still view my writing getaway as successful. I’m working towards greatness. And greatness is built upon perseverance, dedication, and rejection letters. I’ll find it, one way or another. Please tell me your rejection stories to pep me up a little, though!