Now imagine that instead of a person, it's something you've written. I have this short story that is the story (in my mind at least) all my other stories want to be. I've sent it out for years, and each time it comes back: rejected to be sure, but always with a nicer note than the other rejected stories get. My favorite was "Smart, warm, funny...not for us."
And as I dust this story off to send out yet again, I'm wondering if, as with some people, there's just something a little off-putting about it. Maybe it's too eager to please, maybe it tries too hard. Maybe its smile is a little forced.
"Thanks for a great read," went another rejection. "Very funny piece." This story is better than the ones that have found publication, in my mind. What's the matter with you people? They seem to wonder too. The nice notes have a distinct whiff of the old "It's not you, it's me." I'm starting to feel like one of those aging parents telling an adult child, "If they can't see what's beautiful about you, they don't deserve you!"
So soldier on, brave little story. Someday love will find you!