The Rejectionist

For a long time it stressed me out that I was not one of these people who was like, ‘I get up at four in the morning and I write 2,000 words even if they’re bad.’ I thought that was what you had to do to be a writer. I’m someone who fucks up for six months at a time and doesn’t do anything related to writing and then I sit down and write a shit-ton and then I let go of it again. My friend Nathan [Bransford] says the only thing that everyone who writes a book has in common is that they got it done. There’s so many different ways to get there.
— 

Sarah McCarry (aka The Rejectionist), author of ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS, DIRTY WINGS, and the third book in the Metamorphoses trilogy, ABOUT A GIRL.

Listen to the full interview here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

Ambition is like a poison and a gift tangled together and it makes you leave and leave and leave again, leave places, leave people, leave your whole life. Ambition and something else that I don’t know how to name but it’s what I share my house with, the house of my body, ambition and something that is ruthless and cruel and says only, ever, Is that a good story, and if the answer is no it says Move on. The best we can hope for is to be good enough to justify how brutal we are. The summer after I graduated I had no idea what I was in for or what I had started, no idea where that move would take me, no idea that I would come out the other end transformed. Not a butterfly but a vulture or maybe on my better days a bird of prey. When you are a woman or a girl or female no one says to you Look, artists who are great take without asking and take and take and do not apologize because when you are a woman or a girl or female the only thing you are supposed to take is a lot of other people’s shit. No one says to you Be sure you are strong enough to take and not apologize and keep going when the taking leaves you nothing to go back to. Be sure you are strong enough to steal and live alone with what you’ve chosen to make yours.
Ambition is like a poison and a gift tangled together and it makes you leave and leave and leave again, leave places, leave people, leave your whole life. Ambition and something else that I don’t know how to name but it’s what I share my house with, the house of my body, ambition and something that is ruthless and cruel and says only, ever, Is that a good story, and if the answer is no it says Move on. The best we can hope for is to be good enough to justify how brutal we are. The summer after I graduated I had no idea what I was in for or what I had started, no idea where that move would take me, no idea that I would come out the other end transformed. Not a butterfly but a vulture or maybe on my better days a bird of prey. When you are a woman or a girl or female no one says to you Look, artists who are great take without asking and take and take and do not apologize because when you are a woman or a girl or female the only thing you are supposed to take is a lot of other people’s shit. No one says to you Be sure you are strong enough to take and not apologize and keep going when the taking leaves you nothing to go back to. Be sure you are strong enough to steal and live alone with what you’ve chosen to make yours.
—  sarah mccarry (the rejectionist), “what i did the summer after i graduated
I’m always going to be interested in the complexity of friendships between women and the ways that different women choose to survive, or how we survive in a world that is obviously not out to protect us. It’s honestly never occurred to me to write about boys. … I just am not interested in boys’ stories. Like, at all.
— 

Sarah McCarry (aka The Rejectionist), author of ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS, DIRTY WINGS, and the third book in the Metamorphoses trilogy, ABOUT A GIRL.

Listen to the full interview here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

A guy found me in a bar downtown and told me the story of his life, the way they do. I didn’t tell him any stories of my own. I wouldn’t have even if he’d bothered to ask. “But in the end, it’s best to be honest about what you are,” he said, reflecting on the foibles he’d outlined for me. “We’re all polished turds.” “Speak for yourself,” I said, and he looked startled to realize I had a voice. “I’m diamond all the way through.“
—  Sarah McCarry
therejectionist.com
The Rejectionist | Sarah McCarry: Working: s.e. smith

My illness is an inextricable part of me. It doesn’t define me, but it’s part of my definition; I wouldn’t be the person I am without it. And it’s not a blessing or some sort of magical things, as many people seem to think with mental illness and creative people–my mental illness doesn’t make me any more creative than eating lentils for dinner does. It’s just a thing that I live with, and something I manage to make sure it doesn’t eat me alive, which it often very much wants to do–I’ve compared it to a monster inside me, but it’s also like a tiger in my living room. Content to sit around not doing much of anything, until it decides to do something, and you can’t predict when that’s going to happen.

The odds that you are actually going to make a living [writing books] are basically non-existent. So, like, just do whatever the fuck you want. Write the books you want to write and talk to the people you want to talk to, and do it for love.
— 

Sarah McCarry (aka The Rejectionist), author of ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS, DIRTY WINGS, and the third book in the Metamorphoses trilogy, ABOUT A GIRL.

Listen to the full interview here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

A YA Op-Ed Mad Lib by The Rejectionist

IS YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE RUINING OUR CHILDREN? A TRICK QUESTION
by [YOUR NAME]
Now, first of all, let me be clear: I don’t actually read YA–I just skimmed the jacket copy for The Hunger Games in the bookstore. YA is for babies, and I’m no baby! I’m a [PRESTIGIOUS CAREER]. But, like other adults, I can’t help but [ADVERB] [VERB] about young people today and their [PLURAL NOUN]. The kids are so [ADJECTIVE] that they’re practically snorting [NOUN] and having [ADJECTIVE] sex on my lawn! You know why? Smutty, smutty young adult books, is why! Kids tainted by the current crop of teen-oriented filth will waste no time in engaging in a wide variety of self-destructive behaviors, such as [TYPE OF EATING DISORDER], [ING VERB] their [PLURAL BODY PART], dabbling in witchcraft, and setting fire to [PLURAL NOUN]. I’ve heard these books even turn kids homosexual!
You know what I miss? The Good Old Days, that magical time in the [DECADE IN THE PAST] when [PLURAL NOUN] knew their place, teenagers didn’t even know what [NOUN] was, and writers wrote books that were [ADJECTIVE]. Nothing makes me feel better than conjuring up fallacious images of an illusory past, populated exclusively with white, upper-middle-class children who were untarnished paragons of innocence, not these [ADJECTIVE], [ADJECTIVE], [ADJECTIVE] little [PLURAL NOUN] running feral in the streets and “sexting” each other [ADJECTIVE] pictures of themselves! The problem isn’t a hypercommodified culture in the terminal stages of capitalism; problematic dominant-culture representations of marginalized populations; media conglomerates that propagate heteronormative constructions of gender and sexuality; my own projected anxieties; or The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. No, the problem with everything is teenagers reading books for teenagers. In fact, teenagers reading books is just about the most awful thing I can think of, with one exception! There is one book for teens that doesn’t lead to depravity, [ING VERB], and [ING VERB]. That, of course, is my book, which you can buy [LINK TO AMAZON].

therejectionist.com
The Rejectionist | Sarah McCarry: What I Did the Summer After I Graduated

I’ve been thinking about this article for days. Maybe weeks. I don’t think I’ll ever stop thinking about it. Read it. Everyone read it, especially those of you like me who graduated and are moving onto something really new next year. It’s really important. 

What do I think? I think women in Africa are doing a pretty badass job of organizing against genital mutilation and probably do not need a lot of paternalistic bullshit from the daughters of the people who looted their continent, and I think “worldwide subjugation of women” is a problematic sort of code for ISLAM IS COMING FOR OUR WOMEN when the religious terrorists I am actually concerned about are currently hijacking the legislature and running for president in the country I live in, and I don’t know if Jonathan Franzen actually hates women but he sure as fuck can’t write about them, or much else either; I am trying to think of a more relentlessly mediocre and unambitious well-known writer than Jonathan Franzen, and I can’t. I don’t even care whether he hates women; I care that he is boring. I don’t think you need to cut a woman up to hate her; apparently, these days, all you need to do is run for office.
—  Dear Superior Person, The Rejectionist

You guys, The Rejectionist’s book came out yesterday. I don’t know if you know who The Rejectionist is, but you should, and you should probably read this book because I bet it’s just amazing.

From Goodreads:

The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.

Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.

And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.

But ambition is like a poison and a gift tangled together and it makes you leave and leave and leave again, leave places, leave people, leave your whole life. Ambition and something else that I don’t know how to name but it’s what I share my house with, the house of my body, ambition and something that is ruthless and cruel and says only, ever, Is that a good story, and if the answer is no it says Move on. The best we can hope for is to be good enough to justify how brutal we are.
—  The Rejectionist, What I Did the Summer After I Graduated
I mean, I think the literature’s out there‚ in contemporary American writing, just in the past few years, I’m thinking works by Danielle Dutton, everything Danielle publishes on her Dorothy press, Laurie Weeks’ Zipper Mouth, Bhanu Kapil’s recent Schizophrene, a lot of writing done on women writers’ personal blogs, like by Bhanu or Suzanne Scanlon or Jennifer Lowe or Jackie Wang. I think our work is often just pushed to the margins. We are often shuttled to the “minor” in the public literary conversation. A few things to parse out here–when I think of l'écriture feminine as interrogated by the French feminists, I think of a radical mode of writing, that is the writing of voice, of the body, by the outlaw.
—  From The Rejectionist’s interview with Green Girl author Kate Zambreno. So many good reading suggestions - writers they forgot to tell you about in university. Blogger girls of the internet. Literature of the girl. So great.