Like many attention-starved tweens, I really wanted to grow up to be an actress. I took on some acting work as a kid, appearing in some PSAs and commercials, and two times even got called to audition for Nickelodeon shows. I'll never forget the feeling of arriving into the MTV/Viacom building in Times Square and thinking that this would one day become my life — acting for a living, getting my pictures taken, and being perpetually glamorous.
But as I'm sure is obvious to you by now, I am currently sitting here writing this article, not walking down a red carpet — so it'd be fair to say that dream of mine didn't quite pan out. Around the time I was going to enter high school, my mom became concerned these rejections I was getting from my show biz auditions would, I don't know, bruise my self-confidence.
Ironically, I decided to become a writer instead. Which is pretty much right up there with acting, as far as constant rejection is concerned. That, and I became a freelance writer — so, double that already ubiquitous rejection count.
To my great schadenfreude and enjoyment, people on Twitter recently started posting their rejection stories under the hashtag #ShareYourRejection. The stories ranged from inspiring to funny to downright all-too-relatable.
Like these celebrities we might not know or have read if they hadn't experienced their fair share of turn-downs.
Or this guy, who is definitely having the last laugh after his application was declined years ago.
And, never forget the tweeters who will take any trending topic as an opportunity for self-deprecating (and hilarious) humor.
But there was one guy whose rejection story was so absurd, it went completely viral all on its own. Meet Mark Leidner, an awesome writer (and full-disclosure, acquaintance of mine) and author of Under the Sea. He details the painful woes of being a writer and an editor in this insane story of rejection.
In a message to Distractify, he described his story "like Wile E. Coyote trying to build a rocket, then it slams him into the cliff."
The set-up is one that writers might be familiar with. You send your piece to a million different publications, and then are asked to guest-edit a magazine. Super chill.
Although, OK, I guess you'd have to be pretty tired or spacey to not recognize your own writing, or else so prolific that you can't even tell what you've written from what you haven't anymore.
Sure, it's not the most compassionate move, but point me to a person who hasn't laughed at someone else's failures, especially when attempting to kill time at work. It's something I've done a few times myself, as a copy editor who's come across too many adult misuses of your/you're's and whose/who's.
Because laughing at others' failures ultimately makes us feel less like losers ourselves. Until we realize we are the suckers we were making fun of all along. What a trip!
As someone working in viral media, I can see how this screengrab roast could make the rounds faster than you're able to type "JK."
Absolutely insane, the way the internet works. Influencer culture has made it hard to be taken seriously unless you have substantial social media clout, which often has nothing to do with what you're trying to achieve in the first place.
Now, not to be playing the role of fact-checker here, but let me be the person to point out that Mark only has 7.4K followers to date...
This mise-en-abime is becoming preposterously out of hand. To recap: Mark rejects his own story from a magazine he's editing, but utterly roasts the piece in the process. The roast goes viral, and gains him enough of a following to give the book he's working on (which features said roasted story) a chance at publication. Not only that, but he secures a SEVEN-figure advance.
And smack in the middle of the book is the paragraph he roasted from the story he rejected in the beginning.
Just making sure you guys are following.
So he's like, I cannot run that paragraph, and his editor is like, "Too late, man." And what's a guy to do other than take the money and run at that point in the game.
That bitcoin part is all too relatable. At least he jumped aboard the cryptocurrency train while most of us were stuck watching the internet get rich from a distance. And are you even a writer if you don't just melt into obscurity after your book comes out?
Where is he now, you ask? Well,
Major face-palm emoji. But so painful, hilarious, absurd and simultaneously somewhat relatable. When I approached him about his current struggle and fifteen minutes of viral acclaim, he told Distractify: "You can say I'm happy people found it amusing."
You can say that again!