Wednesday, March 08, 2006

An Explanatory Supplement... my last, monstrously self-pitying post.

When I received the little envelope in the mail today, I went through Kubler-Ross's five stages of dying very quickly. In fact, by the time I finished reading the five lines of form letter they so graciously sent me (As someone who grades papers, I value constructive criticism. Please take three seconds to tell me why I wasn't good enough.), I had pretty much dispensed with denial (This is the first time I've been rejected; ergo, it can't possibly be happening.), anger (What the hell else did they want from me? Who gave them a more impressive application?), and bargaining (If I called them and found out WHY I wasn't good enough, maybe I could fix it.). Then I went through those three again - a little more slowly - before I sat down on the kitchen floor and started crying (depression). Still crying, I explained indignantly to Eric that in the year I'm about to take off from school, I will write a bestseller and not need a stupid Ph.D. anyway. He laughed. I laughed. Because that's probably not true. But that signaled my entrance into the acceptance stage. I promised myself that if I didn't get into this one school I applied to, I would be okay with taking a year off. The only hitch is that I didn't really believe at the time that I wouldn't be admitted.

Now that the inconceivable has happened, I am actually kind of okay. I'm irritated that getting my Ph.D. will be delayed by at least a year. I'm still grappling with the feeling that the rejection letter must be kidding on some cosmic level. And I'm starting to second-guess myself, remembering seemingly inconsequential ambiguities in the application that I may have dealt with inappropriately. Or maybe it was the email I sent to the president of graduate studies to ask whether my creative master's thesis would affect my chances of being accepted there; he never responded, but maybe he recorded my name and waited villainously to reject on sight the person goofy enough to ask that question.

But my world is gradually starting to stabilize on its axis, and I'm catching glimpses of something like relief and opportunity. After all, this is my chance to stop saying, every time someone asks what I want to do with my life, "I want to write fiction." This year, I can fucking do it.


Blogger Jonathan said...

"Fuck the fucking fuckers."
I'm still in my anger stage. Fuck acceptance, I'm angry now and people should know it. I got two kicks in the balls today, at pretty much the same time. I opened the little envelope knowing it was a rejection, and I was about to email the guy who wrote me a letter of recommendation and found an email from the second rejectioners. So, there. I out did you this time; though I'm still sorry about your loss. Natasha wants me to say "their loss," but I hate it when people say that.

I sat on my porch and instead of crying I stared at stuff. I'm so lost I don't even remember what I was staring at.


And it doesn't make me feel any better that you got rejected, because of all the people in the program I knew were going to get into a grad school, it was you. And I'm not shitting you. In fact, I was cursing you while walking through the parking lot the other day because I knew you had a better chance than me.

3/08/2006 5:05 PM  
Blogger Froyd said...

Who wants to go on a nordic rampage and burn and pillage?

Specifically those who turned you down, but I'm open to other suggestions as well.

I'm sorry to hear about $#*@'in rejection letters. they suck.

3/08/2006 5:08 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Thanks, guys, for your support. I'm sorry for your loss, too, Jonathan. (Reading that you got rejected twice today made me start crying again, damn it.) And Froyd, I'd be up for some burning and pillaging. In fact, I'm still considering what I'd like to do to my rejection letter, and fire figures prominently among the options.

3/08/2006 5:15 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Oh, and Froyd, congratulations on not swearing right there. How is Lent going?

3/08/2006 5:16 PM  
Blogger Natasjia said...

I think a night of drinking is in order this weekend. We'll forget aaalll about it -- and make some more snow monkeys. :)

3/08/2006 6:39 PM  
Anonymous Jessie said...

Don't second guess yourself Amber--NO WAY! I have to admit, I agree with Jonathan--out of all of us, I was most sure of you also. You are our academic super-hero. To tell you the truth, the two of you scare me shitless. I can't help but wonder how the hell V. and I will ever hope to get into school, let alone the SAME school!

I am sending you a great big huge hug. Do you feel it? When I said you were I hybrid, I meant it. And I think you're right--use this year for your fiction. Do something incredible. Surprise yourself. Eventually you'll get there--you know you will. We all know it.

3/09/2006 1:05 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

Thanks, Jessie. The hug felt good. (I was sleeping at the time, but it's probably why I woke up visualizing a different kind of next year - and feeling pretty good about it.)

3/09/2006 9:10 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Well I'm not! I'm still in anger mode. I got this close *pinches fingers* to signing all of the U of Iowa staff up for hardcore porn listservs/mailing lists.

3/09/2006 9:47 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

Hahaha. Okay, I'm still kind of pissed, too. (Enough that that sounds like a fun - and just - idea.) But since I was stupid enough to only apply to one school, I feel a responsibility to myself to emphasize the positive in this situation.

3/09/2006 1:05 PM  

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