I appreciate rejection. I appreciate rejection in the same sense that I can appreciate constructive criticism. It isn’t always fun. We may feel rotten, in the moment, but we come out of it the other side with a greater understanding that the world isn’t catered to make us happy. We need to fight for the things we want. We need to learn to deal with rejection, grow out that tough outer shell, and move on quickly otherwise find another line work. This is the reality we face with our small business. We face rejection everyday. We face the battle that comes with starting at the very bottom, with nothing, and building on this empty plain something real. It’s rudimentary world building. I am astounded by all the things that Cimpoe Gallery has accomplished and I am in no way naïve to all the things that still need to get done. It’s exhausting. It’s work. There is a lot of rejection and a lot of trial & error. But I bring up rejection for a specific, less abstract, reason.
I bring up rejection because I was thinking about the author Joe Hill. I was listening to an Interview of the author Joe Hill on the fantastic podcast The Geeks Guide to the Universe. It was a pretty lively and fun interview. I remember thinking that I recognized the name Joe Hill….I couldn’t pin the exact context. I have never read Joe Hill but he must have been someone who has always existed in the peripheral vision of genre fiction. I listened to Joe talk of his latest novel He eventually brought up his previous novel “Horns” and it clicked before the Geeks Guide circled around to asking about the elephant in the room. Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son. Ahhhhh yes. I always forget this. I know this and forget it and listening to his interview, I know why that is.
Joe Hill set out to make a career for himself, by himself, without the help of his uber-famous father. He spent over a decade in the muck with the rest of us. He struggled with his stories. He struggled to get published. It must have been a grand gift to have Stephen King as a father. It is an outlier in every sense of the word. I have no doubt that his father shaped him as a writer, pointing him in the direction of the literary winds, but it sounds like Stephen King did little else for little Joe. I listened to Joe Hill talk to Geeks Guide, talk to the editor John Joseph Adams and how John rejected his stories (many times over!) and it’s funny. This is the real struggle. Rejection. And Joe Hill discusses rejection. He talks about failure and I can appreciate the tremor in the voice that comes after facing rejection slip after rejection slip. It was hard. It was very hard to break into writing and publishing. It sounds like he is a lot more open to talking about his father today. I know that despite his best intentions, he probably gets the sort of advantages we can only imagine. He isn’t shy to talk of this either. Things have changed since he was outed as Stephen King’s son. People want to talk to him now but there was a time- long time – no one cared. No one gave a shit about who Joe Hill was because he was like the rest of us, trying to make a name for himself doing something he loves. And he did. He was published as Joe Hill. He made a career for himself. He came out the other side.