From LoserVille with love!
Got a call from Shama Publishers this morning.
My manuscript has been rejected!
Yes, rejected! R.e.j.e … rejected!
“Is it because of the religious aspect?” was the first question I asked Siti, Salma or Samira subtly. I had intended to make it about religion even before I entered their office and noticed too many of their staff were pretty girls in hijabs. Who knows?! Maybe that is why I submitted a novel with an embarassing attempt at making fun of most of the values our society held dear to a publisher I know can’t afford to be “visionary” and adventurious. Hoping to play victim to political incorrectness when rejection comes calling, perhaps. Can’t very well tell people your half-fiction half-biography “dikam” of 4-years was just not good enough, can you? Especially after they’ve published “YeBeQel Bier” last year, all the blah-blahs you’ve been saying against abesha writers of late and the claims that Ato Zerihun Asfaw was the last straw that broke Ethiopia’s literature back you freely made. No can do!! So, and as a defense mechanism, I asked if religion has got anything to do with my never-to-be-first-novel’s rejection. And, yes, in case anybody asks, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it 😉 .
Siti, Salma or Samira ignored the question before informing me i can come collect the letter at my convenience. She was so nice about it, so sweet & kind with her sing-along radio-voice that a by-stander wouldn’t have guessed I wasn’t being summoned to work in some capacity at the Bagersh estate (which I would have taken without hesitation! Abdella Bagersh is the best boss a person could wish for, I heard. Umer is a tough egg but anybody can tell his heart is in the right place. As for the remaining two male siblings, they seem to have more than a western education and a car they are free to smash against a tree any time at their diposal, they got vision! Not to mention their love for one another, so rare in so grown up boys).
So.. yeah.. the whole affair would have been neatly tucked away as one of those “mature and professional” experiences worth giving the abesheet shoulder a pat for handling rejection with as good a grace as it allowed, if abesheet didn’t make the fatal mistake of suggesting that Siti (Salma or Samira) feel free to use the manuscript as a firewood come a rainy day. What with three BeQolos costing 5 birr in the streets, the lack of firewood & the weather being what it is, the suggestion would have proved useful. Granted Siti, Salma or Samira owned a working fireplace or showed any tendency to hid to the sister’s suggestion. No, she treated the advice with the just “niQet” it deserved. Now the ensuing meeting sounds scarier than it would have otherwise! Like I need another headache. No need to “maleBaBes” it, folks, 2008 hasn’t been the year for me (and P.M. Meles Zenawi and the Chinese government). Perhaps we would all sit down and have a good cry about it one of these days. I know I’d feel better!
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