So she comes in, cradling the world I made. She sets it on the counter, pokes it a little bit, sticks her hands in her pockets. “Sorry. It’s a fine world. It’s just not the one I’m looking for. I hope someone else buys it.”
“So you’re not buying it?” I ask.
She looks nervous. Like she’s returning a dog to the pound, and now cause of her some puppy’s going to get her puss sent out to a farm. See, here’s the thing the worldcrafters forget all the time about editors: They’re not cruel. Well, some of them are, sure, but most of them? They just love the worlds we create, but they can only cram so many of them into their collections. And the ones that they do cram together have to play nice.
I know all that. I’ve been at this crafting business for a while. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. Most worldcrafters, they don’t tell you this, but really: We don’t love every world we cobble together the same way. Some we throw together because we’re bored, or because we think it’ll sell. Some we really do love. Some we really do nurture. But we don’t create every world equal.
So this editor, she comes back to me, and I can tell she’s dealt with some fragile egos. She’s twitching like she’s expecting me to explode at her or toss this world out or turn emo and make sure the next world I fashion is all dark and moody.
Well, not me. No, I’ve done that schtick a thousand times. I’ve been crushed by so many editors, and let’s face it, I slap together so many different earths – fantasy and science fiction and depression pastiches and all that fluff – and send them out, that unless I get three or four editors in here all at once, I’m fine.
Oh, and look. The door opens again. It’s another editor. And I can tell by the look on her face that she’s afraid she’s going to kick my dog or something. She sets my world on the counter, right next to the other reject. “Sorry. It’s a fine world. It’s just not the one I’m looking for.”
“You two talk to each other much?” I ask, pointing with my cigarette. “You’re using the same script.”
They glance at each other, embarrassed. If I were a nicer guy I might try to set them up on a date or something, but I’m too old fashioned for that. “All right, get out of here, shoo!” I wave my hand, and they turn and exit the shop.
Two rejects in one day. Well, hopefully I can shine these up so someone else’ll buy them.
And then the third editor walks in the door. He’s got that smug look. Great. He’s rejecting me, but he’s protecting his fragile ego by pretending he’s doing me a favor. “Good world, man, but not what we want. Try it again, sport!” He tosses me the earth.
I catch it, thankfully in the hand without the cigarette. That could have been embarrassing. “Yeah, fine. Take a hike.”
This editor shrugs and saunters off. He’s got the worlds he wants for his collection already.
So, sure, this wasn’t my best day.
But what’s funny is… I think I’m doing ok. No, I’m not great, but I’ve got plenty of worlds to get out there. What’s a few more rejections?
Hopefully the next editor’s singing a different script about the world I put in front of him, though.