Well, not great news. I didn’t make the shortlist. Five people out of thirty-two did, and I congratulate them heartily. It isn’t easy getting this far. I figure that only 1% of the entrants got long listed, so that’s something. And this is the second time I’ve been long listed in a row. And once a few years ago, I made the short list, which was incredible. But that said, I feel like a bit of a failure here. I know that’s unreasonable, but the story is really good. I felt it had a chance, but it obviously didn’t resonate with the judges. I’d really like to win one of these contests. It would mean the world – I’m just being honest about that. Anyway, I’m bummed. Feel slightly full of despair. But tomorrow everything will feel better. It almost always does. And there will be other stories coming down the pipe. There just will – and that joy of writing them will return. I know it will.
I suck! Sorry, I just had to say that.
Maybe I’ll post the long listed stories from last year and this year at some point. I don’t know. Be well, everyone. Keep at it.
28 thoughts on “CBC Short Story Contest Results”
Sorry you didn’t make the short list but I’m impressed by anyone who even gets a notice. Rejection is the worst, and some sting more than others. I had one of those the other day, and they drag you so far down. Get back up, man!
I hear you. But it’s fresh, and it’s hard, and I don’t feel worthy all of a sudden. On a normal day, I write and love the experience and it’s like I’m the king of the space I personally inhabit (that sounds gross). Rejection stings brutally. I just wish this day were over and I could move to the next one. Because that next day will be glorious again.
Can I ask what the nature of the rejection was that you recently had? I don’t mean to pry but very curious.
It was a McSweeney’s submission. One of many recent rejections. I had put a lot of time into this one, and the no wiped me. I can only speak for myself, but we’re going through a period of day-to-day disappointments (on top of the anxiety and disorientation). I think there’s a cumulative effect to all of these letdowns that makes these individual ones hit harder.
I’m really sorry to hear that and I wish I could help. I always want to help. But I can’t help myself. I remember strings of badness. I remember a few of them, where every day led to yet another let down, against all odds. Like it was all stacked, and I was the chair with three legs. I hope you get through these disappointments, because you will.
Can I ask you what McSweeney’s is? I don’t know that term.
Oh. McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. It’s a humour site begun by Dave Eggers way back in 1998. It’s ad-free and I think is still one of the top humour sites out there. I’ve had some success there over the years and began submitting again after a long absence last year. (They pay now!) A propos to this discussion, the editor, Christopher Monk, offers the kindest rejections going.
https://www.mcsweeneys.net/ My rejected piece, FYI, ended up yesterday at Points in Case, another humour site (sadly unpaid).
I’ll have to check that out, I’ve not heard of it before. I don’t know Points in Case either. Shall slip over there currently.
Don’t worry about rejection. Writing is rejection. As long as you accept what you’ve written, you’ve won the battle. The rest of the world? That’s secondary, although obviously nice. You’re a good writer in my opinion, and you make me laugh.
Thanks. And often as not, I’ll later look at a piece that was rejected and think, “They were right.”
The coda to this is, with encouragement from Monks (I told you he was a good guy), I submitted a new piece, which was accepted. Happy ending.
Really happy to hear that – that is totally a happy ending.
Clearly those judges were sleeping on the job — we both know you’re damned good.
Congrats again, on the long-listing.
Raise a glass, Lewin: drink to the failures and the successes and the joys and the sorrows. We’re gonna get some of each, after all.
I’m sorry it didn’t work out; I know it blows to be passed over.
A glass to the failures and the successes it is, Jones. The next stories will be that much better. I’ll aim for undeniable. You too, ok.
Yeah that does really suck. I don’t think you suck, but being rejected sucks. Take care.
I’m not going to sugar coat it. You do not suck. You just didn’t have what they were looking for at that time. You know that. You tell people to be honest with you, so I am. Please don’t kill me when I sleep. If you do, I will find a way to haunt you.
I think I needed that. I always want people to be honest with me. I want to know when I’ve bombed. Or if I bomb regularly. It’s uplifting to hear that I don’t necessarily bomb, so thank you for that. As for killing you in your sleep, L, I would never do that! I’m afraid of ghosts.
Ya know I loveya. I’ve probably told you that fiction is hard for me. Not in your case. I never know what your imagination will show me.
Hard for me to read, that is.
I don’t know what it’s going to show me either! It’s a constant surprise. I just sit down and do. Very little planning. Very little looking back. Just doling it out, which is why it doesn’t make sense at times. For longer pieces (novels) I do actually plan and make sure I have a goal and a pathway to an endpoint. Different way of thinking but lots of fun.
Doesn’t matter if it was one person or a panel, it’s entirely subjective. This is not chemistry where we can expect two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen to combine every time, no matter what. Someone probably got up on the wrong side of the bed, or had a bad donut, or been reading on the crapper with a hangover. Maybe they couldn’t focus ’cause the wife is about to throw him out of the house. I’ll bet that’s what happened. No, I bet they secretly loved it but they failed so often themselves that in a spate of mad jealousy they said “He IS NOT BETTER THAN ME, I won’t ALLOW IT!! Screw that dude, man. What a jackass! What kind of jackass would do THAT to the great Trent Lewin?
Unfortunately, it works in the other direction too.
There’s really only one person whose opinion matters.
The great Trent Lewin? That has a ring to it. I think it’s a conspiracy, born of chemistry and physics, spinning around in the universe since a half a second after the Big Bang. All of it conspiring to deny me, the great one, of my entitled spoils. I sense a story coming on… it’s kind of like a bad cold. You know it’s there. You have symptoms aplenty, but for the most part you can ignore it, up until the moment the snot drips on your keyboard and writes the damn thing for you.
You’re right, Walt. You are just right on what matters.
What Walt said is the only explanation that makes any sense.
I agree. Walt is wise. Walt needs his writing out in the world more so that we can be witness to his wisdom and grace. Hear that Walt!
Sorry, you didn’t get any further, but just making the longlist means something good. You can write, and you do it well. Take this as motivation to keep going. You’ll get there.
I take it as exactly that. Amazingly, when I woke up this morning, the world was still here and I still wanted to get at it. Funny how a moment can be so sad, but life is still wonderful. Even now.
For the record you are one of the least suckiest people I sort of know. Gosh, if you suck, I am screwed. I often wonder how these long list, short list decisions are made. Often I think some pretentious Mr. Howel type is there screening out people on a whim and not even reading the stuff. CBC has been known to be the pretentious type upon occasion. That being said, I would really love to read your long listed piece and will look forward to when you share it with us.
I will eventually Michelle. I read the winning story in this year’s CBC contest actually. I think it’s pretty good but it didn’t resonate much with me. It was really difficult to read due to the subject matter, which isn’t a bad thing, but to your point, it’s much more… I dunno, refined than anything I would ever write. I think I’m the blue collar writer maybe. Unsophisticated, but man I got my passion.
Congratulations on making the longlist, Trent!
Thank you Linda! Really good to see you, hope you’re well. I went no further than the longlist, but it was a treat to get there. Maybe next weekend I’ll publish that story openly. I quite like it.