Living your dreams

On Saturday, a California woman whose autobiographical novel was rejected by sixteen publishers hosted a funeral for her dream of a writing career, at which “attendees viewed the failed manuscript, rejection letters, refinance papers, useless MFA in creative writing, and the author’s much watched DVD copy of ‘The Secret.’"

(Andrew Sullivan, via The New Yorker)


Mary Patrick Kavanaugh’s website is a virtual graveyard in which you, too, can bury your unfulfilled dreams. Given her obvious sense of humor (and affinity for writing), I seriously doubt that her hopeful spirit can stay down for long. I’m guessing here, but it seems likely that she’ll eventually publish an uplifting anthology about resurrected dreams.

Kidding aside, I can relate to her sense of loss, can’t you? Most of us have traveled through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with our own Works in Progress. And who among us hasn’t felt the crushing blow of rejections, or experienced the death sting of self-inflicted pessimism? Fortunately, we can sound the alarm on LiveJournal when that happens. You’re my heroes, all of you. You’re the first responders who’ve provided life support, time and again, when my writing dreams required a crash cart. No bones about it: I’m grateful.

I created this image at Tombstone Generator.

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  1. Oooh, her website is fabulous! Loving the drop down menu for dream categories (….The Perfect Figure, Hilary ’08…. Other) I like how she says a dream isn’t dead if you haven’t truly given it your all. You know… I just might bury a dead dream or two there. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the link.

  2. That is absolutely hilarious. You know what will happen now? I bet someone will dig it up and publish it. Talk about publicity!

    I should bury my first couple novels actually. They are so asking for it.

    And you hang in there, you will sell!

    • I think you’re right. Her website has links to quite a few media outlets that have picked up her story already. One thing leads to another…who needs a query letter, when you’ve got that kind of attention?

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Heidi. I really appreciate it. I’m writing the final handful of chapters in my first draft, and then…the fun part begins! I think revising will be much easier than down-drafting. Has that been your experience?

      • You’re certainly welcome–you are so close.
        First drafts are hard for me, but they are also thrilling when you include the aha! moments and learning new things about characters etc. My new one, JADE, had about four false starts because I couldn’t figure out where to begin the story, so I’d say “where to start” is often my trickiest area–there are so many choices. It was the same way with SEA–that first chapter–eek.

        I’ll be rooting for you. =))

  3. On one level, I see your point. But I don’t think she’s serious about quitting altogether.

    Most of us writers have poured time and love (ourselves!) into projects that never sold. Humor seems to me a healthy way to deal with our disappointments. She’s certainly attracted lots of media attention in the process. I’m guessing (hoping) that will help her create a happily-ever-after ending. This isn’t the end of the road for her…Her story’s just beginning. πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks for posting that Melodye! What amazing PR! That is a terrific way to generate interest in a book.

    But I’m not one for burying my writing dreams … instead I’m throwing the fates a twist … for each rejection letter I get, I’m buying a brick. How will that help you may ask? Well…

    The fates will know that I’m really looking forward to having enough rejection letter bricks to build a brick ranch house…so they will do the complete opposite and I’ll be published in no time. : )

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