When the Abyss DOESN’T Gaze Back

I was asked by an agent, whose curiosity was piqued, to send in my full manuscript and give her six to eight weeks to read it. Nine weeks later, I checked in. I was told to wait a couple more weeks. And so, about five days ago, which wrapped up week twelve, I followed up again. This time: nothing. 

Getting a rejection is one thing. It hits you like a punch to the gut, but it only lasts seconds. After that, you have to decide to do next: give up or get up? Does nobody care about your baby, or does somebody somewhere—just not this particular person? How much pain are you willing to endure*? 

I’ve had a few rejections of my writing. Quite a few, actually—professional and personal. Most of us creative types don’t have a lot of confidence to begin with. A large percent of why we do this is validation**. Rejections often make me question my talent and my purpose. And when it stings really, really badly, I still continue to put myself out there, even if it’s just out of sheer momentum.  

But this… this is new to me. And I don’t know what to do with it. I’m frustrated, disappointed, and heartbroken. I just need to let this agent go. Someone somewhere wants to love my baby, I think—just not this person. 

_____ 

* This isn’t a rhetorical “man-up” pep-talk question, by the way. There does come a point that soaking up these blows to the ego is just plain unhealthy. Walking away when you can’t take anymore doesn’t make you any less of a person, no matter what Hollywood says. 

** The rest is “We just kind of have to.” 

Fast and Peaceful

I am a few weeks into the month of Ramadan, where, according to Muslim tradition, you fast from sunrise (about 3:30 a.m. here) until sunset (about 6:30 p.m.). This is required, but it’s a privilege to believers, not a punishment. I wish I had that kind of conviction about anything. 

I also wish that holier-than-though Christians who are currently occupying important State and Federal government could live here during Ramadan and see what that kind of dedication to God really looks like. Would their dedication to faith withstand that kind of sacrifice? Given the highly public sexual infractions of the “devout,” like New Gingrich, Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, David Vitter, Larry Craig, and so on, one has to wonder.  

Many of these wasting taxpayer money pushing through their agendas (including establishing state or national religions) as opposed to what they run on, which is “jobs.” Maybe they should spend some time here. In Qatar, it is unlawful for any resident, Muslim or otherwise, to be seen in public eating or drinking during these hours (it’s okay in the home). At the moment, the government is looking to establish morality police to speak to Westerners about the way they dress; shorts and bare shoulders on either gender are considered extremely disrespectful. This process is taking a while, because they’re trying to find a way to be polite about it, which is generous, considering how rude cleavage is in this culture.  

This is what a state religion looks like. And Qatar is a very liberal theocracy. 

Cognitive dissonance would, of course, make this kind of learning experience a wasted experience (“See what Sharia does! Ban it everywhere! In America we have freedom! That’s why everyone needs to follow Jesus!”) but still, it’s something. 

Uphill Both Ways

So, I was thinking about my high school reunion fast approaching, and some things occurred to me. 

For example, back then, if I wanted to look at goofy cat pictures, I had to find my camera, take the picture myself, go to the drugstore, and come back in a few days. If I wanted to see a particular music video, I had to wait for it to come into rotation on MTV. And there was not a single reason to keep my thoughts at 140 characters or less. 

Also, that convenient, handheld device with the bright screen and instant push-button access to all knowledge was called The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Minority Report

So I’m walking down the street, and I see this guy. He’s young and tan and good-looking, with blond hair peeking out of his backwards baseball cap, wearing Abercrombie shorts and expensive aviator sunglasses that are dangling from his unbuttoned, pastel-colored polo. And I think, “This guy is a dude-bro douchebag. And I think he’s a rapist.” I’ve never met him, but I have a pretty good feeling that he’s coerced a woman—chemically or violently—against her will to have sex. If he hasn’t already, he will. I can just tell. He’s got that look. So I follow him. He goes into a bar. Who knows what he’s going to do in there. For sure, he’ll drink, which will impair his judgment and increase the chances of him raping someone. Maybe he’ll meet his victim there. Worried about the fate of his potential victim, I wait. When he leaves, I follow him. He didn’t leave with a woman, which is good news; however, there’s still a chance he’ll find someone else to assault. If not tonight, then sometime in the future—if he hasn’t already. Something needs to be done before a crime is committed. Maybe I should go accost the guy to let him know that I’m watching—that he won’t get away with it. If he takes offense to this and resists, then I’ll have to defend myself. 

So later, I’m walking down the street, and I see this guy. He’s about my age, I think—I can’t tell. It’s dark, and he’s sitting in the driver’s seat of his SUV. The vehicle isn’t running, and there are no lights on. He’s just sitting there, watching. And I think, “This guy is a vigilante. And I think he’s going to hurt somebody.” I’ve never met him, but I have a pretty good feeling that he’s assaulted someone he thought looks suspicious. If he hasn’t already, he will. I can just tell. He’s got that look. Worried about what kind of crimes might be committed tonight, I wait. I notice a teenage boy on the same street. I can’t make out the race of the boy from here, but this doesn’t matter, because vigilantism, as I’ve been told, is colorblind. Something needs to be done to protect this kid. Maybe I should go accost the man in the SUV to let him know that I’m watching—that he won’t get away with it. If he takes offense to this and resists, then I’ll have to defend myself.