How to Celebrate Rejection from the University of Iowa’s Summer Writing Program

How to Celebrate Rejection from the University of Iowa’s Summer Writing Program

If you’re not surprised…

Upon finding the letter in your apartment mailbox, inspect it as you would a flyer you just picked up off the street. Ask the tenant next to you if he knows origami.

Look over the work you submitted for admission. Two sentences in, toss the papers in the air and indulge in an excessive, self-berating meltdown for failure to uphold a high personal standard for excellence (think Faye Dunaway in the wire hanger scene of Mommie Dearest).

Scrape the white frosting out of a package of Oreos into a bowl. Use this to frost a festive rejection cake, and invite your friends over to celebrate. When your friends let themselves in, they should find you face down on the carpet of your completely disheveled apartment. Drinks are on them tonight!

If you’re already a little jaded…

Get high and sit contently through a deluxe car wash, enjoying an ice cream cone and listening to “Bittersweet Symphony” by the Verve on repeat.

Watch Lana Del Rey’s SNL performance on YouTube 15 times in a row

Google “Tao Lin awful book reviews.”

Walk pensively to the nearest coffee shop. Order a mocha, then immediately change your mind and ask for a tall glass of whipped cream. Assure the barista that yes, you are serious. If you close your eyes, the spray of the Reddi-Wip sounds like the ocean…

Take a stroll through a contemporary art museum. Leave reassured.

If you’re new to artistic rejection…

Get drunk with your roommate and watch Dead Poets Society.

Hang adjacent cork boards on your bedroom wall; label one “Acceptance” and the other “Rejection.” Pin former rejection letters to the Rejection board. Pin your acceptance receipt for a Costco Membership to the Acceptance board. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Bedazzle the antique typewriter you bought at a flea market.

Call your parents to deliver the bad news. Your mom will assure you, “Rejection is a part of life, but so is acceptance. Mostly, though, there’s a lot of rejection. So be ready for more of that.” Write this down on a Post-it, and stick it in the space between the Acceptance and Rejection boards.

Think about writing something.

– Katya Karaz was recently rejected from the University of Iowa’s Summer Writing Program