Last night, I received an actual, tangible, physical poetry prize, printed on thick paper and wrapped in red leather. The mayor of a small Colombian town called El Carmen de Viboral handed it to me in a short but elegant ceremony.
I, of course, am still in shock. Especially by what the prize entails – a poetry book I wrote in Spanish will be published. If getting a poetry book published in English is hard, getting a poetry book published in Spanish is darn near impossible. The only way to do it, without paying for it yourself, is to win an award. So, last year I sent my book off to some ten contests.
When I accepted the award I told the small audience how firmly I believe in the importance of rejection, failure, and defeat – especially for us writers. It makes us measure our resolve, read more, and throw away what deserves to be in the trash.
But, sometimes, it is also important to receive a pat on the back from the universe. This past month, my work was rejected by several journals. As used as I am to rejection by now, my motivation was starting to wear thin.
Acceptance has revitalized my efforts to get my book of English poetry ready for publication. And, has readied me for lots more rejection.