Ah, the Gatekeepers, those individuals that by talent, luck, money, or some other mystical power are the arbiters of what the public reads, sees, or listens to. They keep the standards high enough, and artists (writers, dramatists, actors, musicians) must hone their craft to a fine edge. The Gatekeepers cut through slush like, well, slush. They find the jewels glittering amongst the garbage.
I know editors have sent some of my garbage hurtling back my way. Thanks.
After hundreds (really hundreds...am I approaching 1,000?) rejections, I'm not so bitter anymore. Really. Rejections don't sting so much. Of course, the "tail side" of that coin means acceptances don't come with as much of a rush. Not until The New Yorker calls, anyway. Acceptance and rejection is part of the business, right?
My wife and I went to a play on Saturday. It was a free performance, sure...a local thing with no checks and balances. No Gatekeepers. We didn't pay (donations only). We left at intermission.
The play was awful.
From the acting to the script to the direction and even the lighting. Awful.
I used to direct our school plays. Yeah, school plays can be pretty bad, but at least the script is usually written by a professional...(thank you Gatekeepers). This thing we attended on Saturday was drivel. Muck. Slush of the worst kind. I'm not being nice. I know, but look: I rarely have a night out with my wife sans kids, and I feel like the play stole my precious time.
Gatekeepers...despite their human foibles (nepotism being my least favorite), help keep the standards high so poor schumcks like me don't waste their date night on dreck.
So, to all those editors and agents that have been wise enough to reject my work when it wasn't good enough, thanks. Rejections aren't fun for you or me, but I want to improve, to become a better writer. I don't want to waste anyone's time.