Celebrating Acceptance, Rejecting Rejection

blog1pic-dpWhen I sent in my application to The Debutante Ball to see if I could be one of the five lucky writers to participate this year, I knew I was putting myself in that familiar, yucky position we have all been in many times before: waiting nervously for either good news or bad. “How perfect,” I thought. My book, Small Admissions, is about exactly that — those absurd moments of waiting to find out if you’re going to get accepted to something you really want or if you’re in for a big, fat disappointment. And then there’s the next step: rejoicing when you’re accepted or coping (or perhaps not coping so well) when you’re rejected. And we have all been rejected. Whether it’s getting dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend, turned down by a college we really wanted to get into, or declined by agents or publishers, we have all had those moments of sadness, anger, or bitterness when we don’t get exactly what we want. Do we wallow in self-pity? Throw things? Binge watch Downton Abbey to take our minds off of our troubles? As we get older, we should perhaps get better at handling rejection, learning strategies to help us bounce back and keep going. But for some of us, rejection always sends us into a funk. In my book, as in my life, I try to see the humor in suffering a set back because, I suppose, it helps keeps me sane.

In Small Admissions, coming this December 2017 from Emily Bestler books/Simon and Schuster, the main character Kate is struggling to get her act together after an especially heinous rejection. Working in an admissions department at the revered (fictional) Hudson Day School, she encounters high-strung applicant families that are all in the waiting mode: will their children be accepted or rejected? And how will they handle the news? Rejection hurts but maybe it also plays an important role. It can be humbling, crushing, but at times rejuvenating, forcing us to rethink our goals and gain perspective on what really matters. Maybe sometimes things work out the way they’re supposed to. Then again, maybe not.

How have things worked out for me? I live a somewhat crazy life with my husband of almost 25 years, three sons, a dog I inherited from my mother, and a really overweight cat. I split my time between New York City and Frankfurt, Germany and am beyond excited that my first book Small Admissions will be out this December. I am hard at work on a new novel about Broadway, and like the parents in Small Admissions I know that I may be in for more rejections in the future. I will try to see the humor in that as well.

For today I will simply raise a glass to The Debutante Ball, with deep gratitude to last year’s debutantes Jennifer Brown, Louise Miller, Abby Fabiaschi, Aya de Leon, and Heather Young. And I will thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to get to know this year’s group of writers: Crystal, Tiffany, Jenni, and Lynn. To go through this debut year in such good company is a privilege and a thrill. Cheers!

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Amy Poeppel grew up in Dallas, Texas and left the south to attend Wellesley College. Since then, she has worked as an actor, a high school English teacher, and most recently as the Assistant Director of Admissions at a school in New York City. Her three fabulous boys are all off in Boston attending school, and she and her husband now split their time between New York and Frankfurt, Germany. A theatrical version of SMALL ADMISSIONS was workshopped at the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit. She later expanded it into her first novel.

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This article has 15 Comments

  1. Welcome to the Ball! I was a 2013 Deb and it’s a great bonding experience with your Deb sisters. Looking forward to following your journey. I don’t always comment but I’m always around if you Debs need anything!

  2. Welcome to the Deb Ball, Amy – look forward to more posts! I, like all humans, have a hard time with rejection, but after experiencing so much of it (So much. I mean, 187 rejections over the span of two books before I got an agent), I’ve honed my skills in dealing with it. I’m a recovering cynic, constantly having to remind myself to think positively, and even though it takes me a few days to bounce back from a rejection I always remind myself of the jobs I didn’t get, the guys who just weren’t that into me, the agents who responded with their “not for me” boilerplate. Each of those things paved the way for me to get the RIGHT job, the RIGHT guy, the RIGHT agent. It helps to have faith that you deserve the things you want, and to look at those rejections as stepping stones instead of obstacles.

    My 2 cents!

    1. Hi Kaela,
      I agree 100%! I’ve had my fair share of disappointments as well, and after working in admissions, I started to see (or I try to see) the opportunities that come from rejections. And yet, I admit I still have those moments of – as my grandmother would have said – “taking to my bed” after getting bad news. I love your idea of stepping stones – I’ll keep that in mind! Thanks so much!

  3. Thank you Amy for introducing me to this fab site.

    I’ve read your book and it is wonderful, so if you did get rejections it certainly helped hone your wordsmith and storytelling ability.

    I look forward to reading the books of the other authors featured here.

  4. Hi Amy, so glad to see you here. Yes rejections are hard, part of life and challenging but it sure looks like you just keep on keeping on welcome new perspectives. Thanks, and I am looking forward to reading your book !

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