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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rejection Dreams, Starring Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi

A couple nights ago, I had my first really thorough rejection dream. I got up at 4:32 in the morning and rushed for a post-it to jot down the details while they were fresh. Why? So I could regale you with the details that had me tossing and turning.

To go with today’s post, there are several links to the right in case any of you have any recent dreams you’d like to analyze. As for my dream, I think the meaning is clear. Writing + Rejection + too much Garam Masala on the Vegetable Curry = Rejection Nightmare.

Wanting to do a little research for the post, I went to a rejection dream website, courtesy of the fine folks at Psychic and Mediums Network. These are the two meanings they listed:

Psychological Meaning:
You may be refusing to accept an influence in your life or a situation that is being imposed upon you. If you are the one rejected this may reveal that you have hidden feelings of a lack of self-worth or alienation from others. Freud would say that it is you who are rejecting yourself, and that your super-ego (conventional conscience and attitudes) is rejecting your sexual desire (**mind your own business, you dirty old man). You may be punishing yourself. **NOT TRUE—IT WAS ALL PADMA AND HER MEAN, UGLY CARROT (read on for explanation)

Mystical Meaning: Some dream oracles insist that you reverse your dream. Rejection therefore means success. **HOORAY! WOO-HOO!

I don’t know about either of those. Perhaps you can be the judge:

In the dream, I had a middle grade full out to a certain real agent who I adore, and was taking a family vacation while waiting to hear back from her. Ding-dong goes the doorbell in the rather spacious rundown motel room that we’d rented. Padma Lakshi, beautiful host of Bravo’s hit show TOP CHEF, calls on the phone and explains that she’s a representative for Agent X. She’d like to talk to me in person because there are “a few details to discuss.” I say, “Okay, Padma.”

The next thing I know, she’s knocking on the door with my manuscript. It’s covered in brown paper and has notes all over it. I won’t go into excruciating detail, but I did catch that the top of the paper said that the main reason for rejection was

“This book will not be important to anyone.”

Padma didn’t see me sneaking a peek, and I didn’t mention it, but I was like, “What the heck? I thought middle grade had to be amusing and fun, maybe full of mystery and adventure…now it has to be important too? Sonofabitch.”

Anyway, we were having a nice little chat, and I’m sitting there wondering why she had to come in person. Maybe my manuscript stunk, but she’d like me to take over for her as a host on Top Chef so she can spend more time with her baby? Maybe Agent X needs a faux intern, and thinks I would be better off making copies and fetching coffee than writing? I don’t know, but I’m waiting for it…

Then she whips out this huge plaque that says “Newbie.” It has an abstract picture of a family running around a park. I have no idea what it means, but I think it might be an insult, so I start to get a little defensive, asking Padma, “Thanks for coming, but is there anything else? We’re pretty busy here.” She looked around the nasty hotel room (the whole family was witnessing my humiliation, by the way). It was obvious that we were not busy.

Finally, she hands me this huge, ancient, partially-hollowed-out-by-nature carrot, and tells me to look deep inside it. There are these spiral caverns going in, kind of like an ear canal, and I couldn’t see much. It was dusty and full of cobwebs, and I couldn’t help thinking that she might be upset if someone served it to her on Top Chef.

That’s it. I woke up. Three days later, I’m still thinking about that dang carrot and the abstract family picture. What did it mean, and how can I change my manuscript to be important?

My husband thinks the dream is hilarious, and he left a carrot on my laptop before going to work at the crack of dawn this morning. I happened to put an especially hot pepper in the to-go breakfast burrito I prepared for him last night, because I think that’s hilarious (he thinks he’s a tough guy when it comes to spices), so I guess we’re even.


  1. Hmmm, that's a very strange dream. But I don't think it means your manuscript necessarily needs to be more important. I know my Muse can invade my dreams, but my inner editor never has. :P

    The closest I've had to a rejection dream is when I had a nightmare that I'd queried agents for my horrible, unedited NaNo novel (it was unedited at the time), and one of the agents had requested a full and a synopsis. I hadn't written a synopsis, and I was too terrified to send her the manuscript, so I ended up passing on the request. :)

  2. Aw, yours isn't really a rejection dream then~ sounds like the agent really wanted to take a look :)

    Congratulations on participating in NaNoWriMo. I've never had the guts to commit to it, and I applaud your effort!