Ups and Downs in the Arts

I’ve been an artist for all of my adult life. For the most part, I am used to feeling naked in front of people who are critically assessing my work. I’ve completely absorbed the most important maxim an artist / writer can learn: REJECTION ISN’T PERSONAL, or R.I.P. as I like to think of it. I’ve drawn it in through my pores until I truly believe it. I do.

So what I’m wondering is this: Why is it still so painful? I know the agent / editor / publisher isn’t looking at me and sizing me up, only to find me unworthy. So what is it? Is it the hope that we’ve built around a particular chance for publication? (This, in and of itself, is an annoying trait–each new agent expresses an interest and I think, “Could this be the one? Will this be true love?” Blech, but there you go.)

Could it be that not hoping would be better all around? But what are writers, if not a hopeful bunch? I mean, really, why sit alone in a room, cranking out words for a stranger to (perhaps) read at some future time? Why? Our innate storytelling genes? Well, maybe if we were gathered around a campfire after a hunt I’d buy that, but writing is storytelling once removed. It isn’t that immediate gather-round-my-children-and-you-shall-hear experience of the stortyteller. It’s more of a please-oh-please-oh-pretty-please-
take-this-book-home-with-you-curl-up-with-it-and-love-it experience.

I don’t really know where I’m going with these musings, just throwing out questions. Here’s one: How do you deal with rejection?