Saturday, May 14, 2011


Yes! It's true. Kate di Camillo came to Oxford!!

Here I am going total fangirl on her.

She read a bit from some of her books and answered great questions from the audience with off-the-cuff cleverness and humor.

And, I was thrilled that I had the chance to tell her that she was my inspirational "Rocky music" during my phase of rejection letter after rejection letter after rejection letter ... Whenever it got to be too much--like cover your head in ashes and hide under the bed for a week "too much"--I would play a a video interview that I found of her on iTunes. In the interview, the interviewer asked Kate what kept her going when SHE kept getting rejections (she told us today that she amassed over 400! so hard to believe!!).

Her response? Here's a copy of the transcript of this part of the interview (you can watch the whole thing on the Reading Rockets website):

Why would somebody bother to keep on sending stuff out after that many rejection letters? I don't have an answer. I'd waited so long to start. You know, a whole decade of my life went by with me saying that this is what I wanted to do, but not doing it. I had reached such a critical level of self-disgust. I didn't want to die saying, "I think I could have done it."
Since I was doing the work of telling stories, it was then an easy enough thing to then send the stories out and to keep on doing it, so I didn't have to say some 50 years hence, "I think I could've done that."
Well you know, I've been in so many writing workshops, writing classes, and to the right of me and to the left of me, there's always somebody much more talented than I am. And what I figured out is they're not willing to go through the rejection, which is enormous, and then the compromise that comes with editing your work. I decided a long time ago that I didn't have to be talented. I just had to be persistent, and that that was something that I could control — the persistence. I've always been kind of persistent.

Persistence. That's the key and it is truly the ONLY thing you can control in this crazy business.

Wow!!  What a day!!!!



  1. what an inspiration! I love Kate DiCamillo's books.

    400 times? Wow.


  2. 400 rejections??? Okay, then I have over 350 to go!


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