They didn’t get what I was trying to do, or maybe they did and they just didn’t want it.

I read the email at the end of a gruelling day! I’d had two presentations in the morning. One a set of kindergarteners! I always find them the most exhausting group to present to! And then I’d driven down to St. Catherines (an hour and a half away) to do an evening presentation to a group of very excited and appreciative parents and kids.

Coming home, at 9 pm, exhausted, to find a letter of rejection.

My first reaction was shock, even though I was lamenting the idea that they wouldn’t buy it in the last post!

My hubby asked me why. I told him it was probably too risky. A sequel that was different in tone from the original? Who’s ever heard of such a thing?

And he said, “Why can’t you write something safe?”

Yeah right!

Am I making things too difficult for myself?

I really don’t know.

I just know that I’m not drawn to ‘safe’ topics. I seem to require incredible challenges, challenges that leave me flat on my face.

Then pretty soon, on the heels of chagrin, my next reaction to the rejection was: “C’est la vie!”

And even a bit of excitement because even though they’d rejected it, it might be right up my agent’s alley!

And even though it’s a sequel, it would work really well as a stand alone book precisely because it is so different from Wanting Mor.

I have a good friend reading it right now. And she’s not Muslim, so that helps.

Hopefully she can give me a different perspective on things.

And I will see what she says and then consider how to continue.

Yup, feeling pretty low.

Not even having my travel grant application accepted by the Canada Council was enough to cheer me up today. They’ve okayed my return to Singapore at the end of May for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content.

I might get in touch with the lady I met from the Malaysian government, while I was on Hajj. We prayed side by side at the Haram in Medina, and got to chatting. Hopefully I can set up a tour of Malaysia while I’m in that neck of the woods.

But all that doesn’t make me feel better about this.

I just have to remind myself that no writing is wasted. And I believe in this story.

But it does get quite tiresome to write your heart out and then have it rejected. Oh well, I’m not the only one doing this.

I’ll probably feel better in the morning.

Eb and flow, that’s the way confidence goes.

I did watch a show on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey network) that was with the diva herself. It was called Oprah’s Master Class and I really enjoyed listening to her spout off about the things she’s learned on her life journey.

It’s funny but so many of the things she mentioned are things I’ve already taken to heart. And I’m sure many of them are conclusions I came to on my own.

Like don’t chase the trends, don’t worry about ratings (or awards or reviews or whatever applies). When she decided to ditch controversial topics and instead go for things that would educate people, she didn’t even look at ratings. She said worrying about what other people are doing is a waste of energy–which is something I’ve always believed!

She said it’s like you’re running a race and you look back to see if your opponent is close, and in doing so you lose momentum. She said you can’t control what other people do, you can only control what you do yourself. Again, something I completely believe in!

And one of the things she said was that “Anybody pretending to be anything other than what they are will never reach their true potential”. Or words to that effect.

And she talked about the ‘whispers’ that guide you in the direction you should be going.

Well that’s precisely what happened with the sequel. At first I tried to write it safely, through Jameela’s perspective or even Yusuf’s perspective, but the story wouldn’t work. The whispers kept saying I had to use omniscient third–a point of view I’d never written from before!

I kept putting the sequel away. For three years I kept abandoning it and coming back to it. Whispers whispering, telling me that there really is something good there.

And now I’m not whispering it any more. It is good. Even if the whole world doesn’t see merit in it–darn it, I do like it.

Even if it never gets published, I won’t regret the time I spent writing it.

Now to get back to that picture book I had started.