JASON REYNOLDS

writin' and whatnot

Rejection

Yeahhhh so one of my homeboys pretty much chewed my face off for not posting more often, and when I started to perform the illest "excuse kung-fu" he crushed me with one sentence. "Dude," he said. "People really just want to know what you're up to. People care."

Now, I don't know if that's true, but it was definitely a sweet sentiment. So much so that I've decided to commit to posting three times a week. I know, I know. I've said that before, but...so what. I'm saying it again. So, there.

Anyway, one thing that has been on my mind is the notion of rejection. It's a strange thing. Always. And as wild as it is when it comes to unrequited love (no, this will not be a trip to tiny violin town,) it's even more bizarre when it comes to something you've created — your art. And let me tell you, I have taken a mighty lashing when it comes to rejection. Specifically when it comes to writing childrens books.

For all my folks who are NOT writers, let me tell you, childrens books are HARD. Maybe even the hardest form of book making. You know why? Because you have thirty-two pages to tell a whole story with around thirty-two sentences. It has to have an entire plot AND a lesson, but it cant FEEL like a lesson. It can't be heavy handed or agenda driven. It has to be the cheese on the broccoli, the chocolate syrup in the milk. It has to be funny and cool and interesting to the PARENTS and the children. Seriously? Seriously.

Wanna know how many I've written? Well, over the last ten years...probably thirty. Yes, you read that right. T-H-I-R-T-Y. Have you ever seen a kids book with my name on it in anybody's store or library? No. No you haven't. You know why? Because every single one I write gets rejected. Crapped on. Trashed. And every time, I feel terrible about it. But not bad enough to quit. I know I'm not that great at writing them (even though secretly I always feel like I'm knocking them out the park) but deep down, all the way down where the art flame flickers, I know I can do it. I KNOW IT. And I believe in process so I know I'll get better. So I keep writing them. Over and over and over and over and over again.

Let this serve as inspiration to somebody (who reads this blog anywyay?) as well as documentation, that I've been trying for years, so that when it actually happens, when you see some dope kids book face-forward on a bookshelf, EVERYONE can celebrate with me.