...all over me.
With trembling fingers, I held the tasteful, creme-colored, linen #10 business envelope. I read the return address:
Creative Writing Program
450 Serra Mall, Building 460
Stanford, CA 94305-2087
I wasn't expecting "it" for another 11 days. I felt the weight of "it"...very light...one, maybe two sheets of paper enclosed. I flipped "it" over and ripped the seal with my right index finger and pulled out the letter, tri-fold, as a business letter should be. I opened "it" and began reading, skipping the date and salutation and going straight to the heart of the matter:
Thank you so much for your application for a Stegner Fellowship. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you a place in the program.
As my brain comprehended the meaning of these two short sentences, a car went by, blaring its horn. I realized I was standing in the middle of a two-lane rural road. Survival instincts kicked in and I scurried to the safety of the gravel road that leads up and around to the Retreat Center.
The rest of the letter was kind and gentle and encouraging and beautifully written, as one would hope a rejection letter from the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University would be and was signed by Eavan Boland, Director, Stanford Creative Writing Program.
I was disappointed, but not discouraged.
As I sat reading the entire letter and allowing "it" to settle over me, I noticed something...the salutation:
and then I noticed something else..."it" doesn't match the envelope. "It" is on thin white paper, wait a minute..."it's" a photocopy.
A form letter...they sent me a form letter, but they called me a "writer." Yes, a "writer" and even better, a "writer" who's received her first rejection letter!
I'm disappointed, but not discouraged.