Checking for Messages

mailboxWay back when, a long time ago when we all used mail, I spent a lot of time checking the mailbox. I’d print (I know, who does THAT anymore?) and mail out my manuscript, or the first three chapters, or a short story, with a SASE (for the young folks out there that’s a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope). Then I’d wait. I’d add in three days to mail it to the market, then three days for its return trip. The days in between were guesswork but after a week or two I’d start checking the mail. I’d rush home from work and check the mail. Empty. Then I’d check later, in case the mailman was delayed.

On weekends, I’d watch out the window and when the mailman came-ZIP out the door I went. Usually (because this was a long time ago and I wrote like crap) I’d get my same package back. I’d read the form rejection letter. Then I’d check the manuscript for markings and send it to the next one on the list because I took the “no simultaneous submissions” very seriously.

Now in the age of email, this process if SO much more painful. At least the mailman only comes once a day. With email, it’s a freefall. Anytime of day or night, I might get an acceptance. There are two markets in particular that I am awaiting with bated breath. I admit I’ve become a little obsessive.

I leave my email open and keep refreshing, you know, just in case something arrived in the last 45 seconds. I know, I should get a smartphone then I would be notified. I have a quasi smartphone now. I can check email but it doesn’t always show up and it stopped notifying me about a year ago. If I had that option though, then every time Kohl’s or SmileyCookie or Amazon wrote, my heart would flutter. I’d click my phone and-nothing.

So I check my phone a lot, and I check my computer a lot, in case the phone missed something. It’s painful.

One would think that after all the years of writing, an acceptance or rejection wouldn’t matter so much. But it does. It’s still a thrill or disappointment.

Need to go now and check my messages. Who knows? Maybe I got some good news.