Overcoming Rejection

I was recently rejected after an interview. Being of a resilient nature, I did what any semi-intelligent reject would do: changed my identity. But not without permission, of course.

It started when I’d filled out a four-page online adoption questionnaire. Canine adoption, that is, from a dog rescue group. I had one dog already; I decided it was time for another as our Aussie Shepherd, Rio, seemed lonely.

The adoption questions started out as standard fare, such as: “Do you have other pets?” and “Will you take your new dog for walks?”

But then they started getting a tad tricky with questions like, “Where will your new dog sleep?”

I answered that Rio sleeps wherever he likes. Sometimes inside, sometimes outdoors. The same will hold true for our new addition. This resulted in my immediate rejection.

Unbeknownst to me, dogs from this rescue organization were not permitted to sleep outside, meaning anywhere not contained within the four walls of what was deemed human living quarters. I sent an e-mail explaining that we leave it up to Rio to decide where to sleep. Sometimes he prefers to nestle down in my son’s bedroom and other times, he prefers to sleep outside. I received a response, asking me to define “outside.”

I explained, “Under the stars on the cool grass ‘neath the sweet-scented Magnolia tree, or in his fashionable, igloo style dog house.”

I received no further communication. I tried again, “If my new canine friend prefers to sleep inside, she is more than welcome.” “My bed is large and cozy.” “We live on fully fenced land, perfect for frolicking animals.” “I’m a good dog owner, I am!”

I was blackballed by the Dog Rescue Organization. I called my mother.

“Do you want to adopt a dog?” I asked.

“Not really.”

“Do you mind if I borrow your name and address and pretend to be you adopting a dog?”

“Go right ahead, dear.”

Using my mother’s email address, I again filled out a questionnaire. This time I was successful because nowhere did I use the frowned upon “O” word. I was granted a personal interview.

Please do not think for a moment that I have a penchant for impersonating my mother. I merely felt I had been grossly misunderstood, and Mom was the only one who would allow me to borrow her identity, no strings attached. Once at Rescue Headquarters, I was going to fess up.

When Rio and I arrived, (his presence was required so he could have a say in picking his new buddy), a nice, exhausted looking young man named Kevin helped us. He never asked my name, merely wanting to know if I’d completed the online questionnaire. Then he picked out a candidate to take for a walk with Rio and me. I said,

“I’m not sure if I’d make a good dog parent. There are things I need to explain.”

Kevin responded, “I can tell by the way you treat Rio that you’ll be very good.”

Four dogs later, we hadn’t found the right fit. I had to reject the first one since the enthusiastic creature excelled in knocking me flat on my back; the next one gave Rio the evil eye; Rio displayed an exceptional loathing for the third one; and the last pooch kept mistaking Kevin for a fire hydrant.

When Kevin went inside to change his pants, another representative came over to me. She narrowed her eyes and said, “I’ve been watching you.”

“Then…you know?”


“Should I leave?”

“You wait right there!” She went back into the shelter.

They’d figured it out. They were probably in a group huddle, deciding what to do with me. Rio looked at me as if to say, “Let’s make a run for it.” But I couldn’t. I had to state my case and face the consequences.

The woman returned. At the end of her leash was a very sweet, young German Shepherd. Rio made no objections. I said,

“About the application…”

“I’m glad you reminded me. Will you take two dogs?”

Just another reminder of the power of persistence. You’ll be glad to know I never borrowed my mom’s identity again. And we found a wonderful new canine friend.

Necessary Traits of a Writer

Certain character traits are necessary for different professions. A doctor should have compassion. A lawyer should radiate confidence. A cat herder shares many of the traits a writer should hone. Patience tops the list. Without it, how can a writer finish that seemingly impossible first draft and the revisions that follow? What about the dreaded times when a whole day’s work (or more – yikes!) needs to be scrapped ’cause it’s bunk? Without patience, how does a writer persevere? When it’s a challenge to practice patience, I remember this encounter:

On the way home from the office one afternoon, I stopped at a bakery for a loaf of bread. Being in a hurry, I forgot to ask the person assisting me to slice the loaf before handing it to me. When I did so, she looked at me as if I’d insisted she set the place on fire.

“You didn’t ask to have it sliced,” she responded testily.

“Yes, I know,” I replied. “Would you please slice it now?”

While I waited in a huff, I watched her. She was in an even worse huff than I was as she bent over the bread machine. I recalled an ancient parable about an elderly monk who slowly made his way along a dirt road. Suddenly a large man, in a huge hurry, pushed past the monk and knocked the old man down as he raced by, without a glance back. As a younger monk helped the elder one up, the old monk shouted after the man, “May you be happy all the days of your life!”

The young monk said, “What are you saying? Didn’t you see what he just did to you?”

The older monk replied, “Do you think he’d have done that if he’d been happy?”

When I got my sliced loaf, I said, “Thanks so much for taking the time to do that.” I actually got a “You’re welcome” back. I felt better and I’m certain she did too.

It’s easy to practice patience when we feel happy. But how does one maintain patience during those times when we’re in a hurry or upset or just plain miserable? True happiness comes from helping others, nurturing a grateful heart and using the enormous power of thought and consideration, all of which surpass impatience or misery.

When I started writing this post, I felt impatient. “Hurry up and get it over with,” was what drummed through my mind as I pressed the keys. That was no fun. So I stopped writing, and paid a visit to Twitter. I didn’t tweet, but read others’ inspiring tweets. Short and sweet. They made me realize that I was missing another vital asset that prevented me from exercising patience and my “A” game: enthusiasm.

With renewed interest, I came back and finished. It doesn’t take much to turn our thoughts around. Just a little effort.

Keeping A Steady Mind

Yesterday, I drove to a convenience store to do some quick shopping.
Once in the store, I picked out what I needed and went to the cashier. The person behind the register was a smallish person, quiet and solemn. As I handed her my money, I asked if she could please give me change for a dollar. Not receiving an answer, I repeated my request.

“I said, YES!” she roared suddenly, exhaling hotly through her nose. The unexpected gust nearly blew back my hair.

Have you ever noticed how silly people look when they lose their temper? And how ridiculous it is when we lose control of our thoughts and minds? If there’s one thing in this life we can control, it’s our thoughts, and the actions that follow.

One of the hardest things to do is to react peaceably to a person who we feel is attacking us in word or deed. Anger grows if met with anger. If I’ve learned anything from the 178 self-help books I’ve read, I’ve at least learned that much. If anger is met calmly, it often ends more quickly.

After the cashier’s yell, inner me briefly desired to rip all the heads off the nearest Pez display just to demonstrate what I thought of her unprovoked outburst. But then my anger would render me out of control too.

I apologized for not hearing her the first time, and debated whether I should point out that not only was her first reply inaudible, but likely took place only within the confines of her head, as I happened to be watching her for an answer. Taking a closer look at her stopped me. Her face sagged with unhappiness. Anger and happiness do not travel in the same circles. Clearly, her anger stemmed from within herself.

I smiled and waited for her to catch my eye. The line behind me grew, but I’m certain no one would have minded if they’d realized my good cause.

Finally, she caught my eye and a wan grin appeared. I thanked her and left.

Anger cramps the mind’s growth. We writers need to control our minds and place it in the proper state to write effectively. Okay, if anger is a state of mind you need in order to write, at least keep it to yourself, and keep it short. I don’t know about you, but I write best with a clear, calm mind unhindered by negative emotions. How to chase negative emotions away? Start with a smile. If you can’t achieve a genuine smile, fake it. Keep faking it until it becomes the real thing. It works.