Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in my Toothpaste

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in my Toothpaste

I’ll get to the sodium lauryl sulfate in my toothpaste in a sec. But first! Yesterday was definitely a day. Mom landed in the ER. (She is okay, but in pain). I got another rejection letter from a literary agent. And I broke my website.

Mom was trying to load some old patio chairs into her Jeep to take to the ReStore in Collinsville, but they didn’t load easily. She fell, putting a pretty substantial gash in her ring finger and giving her a torn meniscus.

The ER was hopping yesterday too, so she was at the hospital for like 6.5 hours, during which time I pretty much felt like a useless eater*. They patched her up but left her with her OTC acetaminophen and ibuprofen for pain. (That’s a rant for another day.) She’s fine, but I wish she was better.

If there’s good news here, I guess it’s that I have no shortage of mobility devices to lend her and my ADA walk-in shower will be pretty useful too.

While that was going on, I got a very kind rejection letter for Who You Gonna Believe. I don’t know if the agent’s assistant said the sample was charming (or that it had its charms—can’t remember the exact wording now) because I have a brain tumor or because it really did have a little something.

But once again I find myself awash in apathy about traditionally publishing WYGB and maybe that’s a sign? The more I think about it, the more I think I should definitely be excited about the idea of finding an agent, and I’m just not.

The rejection letter drove this home for me when I read a line that said—and I’m paraphrasing—we’re just not that into it and we’re going to pass because you deserve an agent that’s obsessed.

Hit me me like a ton of bricks, it did. I should be more excited. Otherwise what’s the point, right?

Which brings me to my website blunder. I read somewhere that my permalink structure wasn’t the greatest for search rankings. There are dates taking up space before the words in the URLs, and that’s not ideal. Not awful, but not ideal. So despite a warning in my settings that said “you should almost never do this” I changed my permalink structure for a few minutes and wrecked everything.

It’s better now that I have changed the setting back, but I’m still finding random messed up links, even after clearing my browser and site cache. I’m sure that will set me back a little bit in my quest to monetize the site. Oh well. That’s what I get for letting all those “you got this” remarks during treatment go to my head.

I might as well update you on the toothpaste saga since I’m here. Someone commented on my last post that the culprit could be the sodium lauryl sulfate in the toothpaste. Well, that’s easy enough to check. Mom uses a toothpaste without it, so I can do a science myself without buying anything new.

My mouth and tongue inflammation are down, but my lymph node hasn’t changed much. Overall, I’m breathing easier, feeling less fatigued, and sleeping better. I’ll keep going and see what happens.

Turns out SLS is in everything though. So if I need to pursue this further, it’ll mean changing more than my toothpaste. Cancer and its treatment break everything. I’m so not amused.

* Feeling like one sometimes is normal. Believing myself to be one is incorrect.

Literary Agent Rejection Letter

Literary Agent Rejection Letter

I got my first literary agent rejection letter on Sunday, and I feel so alive. I’m not sure that’s a normal response for writers to have. I think I’m supposed to feel bitter resentment. But things have been pretty dull here for a while, which severely exacerbates bored depression.

I’ve counted ceiling tiles a few too many times already.

The agent’s email was kind, explaining how Who You Gonna Believe didn’t fit into her current list of working titles. But I still wonder how straightforward the rejections are. 

Like does she genuinely think the manuscript sounds intriguing, or is she just saying that because I have brain cancer and she doesn’t want to hurt my feelings?

I run into the hurt feelings thing a lot, as you might imagine. It doesn’t make me mad. It just makes me wonder. I appreciate that people are trying to be nice, but I also appreciate bluntness because it protects my energy reserves.

I’m probably one of few who would rather hear, “this is not marketable in any universe” than “it’s not for me.” Provided it’s true, of course.

Which is why I was trying to get feedback before querying in the first place. I thought it would save me the agony of deciphering. I was protecting myself.

By the way, I rejected all of those proposals I mentioned previously because I didn’t have the energy to interpret responses. (That’s not a reason listed in Reedsy’s drop-down menu, in case you were wondering.)

That’s the story of my first rejection letter, dull as it is. Maybe one day I will wish I could remember it, but for now it feels very forgettable. It was as impactful as a cookie-cutter reply from HR after submitting the first resume and cover letter of a job search.

The self-doubt comes later.

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