The title sounds so dramatic, I know. For starters, I am referring to the Rejection of work submitted to literary journals, reviews, mags, contests, yadda, yadda, although I would like to also talk about “my” MCR rejection at some point (anyone who knows what that means, I’ll most likely come find you and hug you).
Back to this rejection of writing business.
A few months back I sent out a short fiction story with hopes (duh) that it would find a comfortable home in a newer online journal. Today, on a Saturday, I see an email with the boring and patronizing boiler plate response:
Thank you for sharing….After a careful review of your submission, the staff has decided that it is not the right fit for the journal. We appreciate the opportunity to read your work and wish you all the best in placing it elsewhere.
- “After A careful review…” Uhm, so how does one (or a staff) review a piece of writing, and what the fuck does “careful” mean? I’m thinking, wondering, questioning: isn’t the first reader generally a student earning their MFA and how does the student–who I am certainly NOT discrediting their discerning talents or tastes–decide what makes the writing pass on to the next level on the submission ladder?
- I would prefer to get a note that said: Sorry, your first line failed to draw me in.OR Bam! Good luck elsewhere because your writing doesn’t fill our requirements in terms of _(subject matter)__ and (reader appeal)____ OR In my opinion, your writing, your story, your poetry is not on the same level as our past and present contributors OR Most of the time we only publish people we know or people who have published previously in places we know or someone who knows you knows us so don’t be discouraged that we don’t want you–your writing chops are not the issue; you need to go out and meet more folks, industry folks, folks that have their names on mastheads.
- I am not bitter. Caustic and blunt, indeed, but I understand and respect (because respect is a value–think about that for a bit) that my writing doesn’t get everyone off. There must be chemistry between the reader and the writer (the writing) in order for a magical thing like publication to occur. And even if other, outside readers feel the electricity crackle and spark when they engage with my work, it matters not!!!! The only thing that matters in this scenario is the journal or review READER and their sensibilities, mood, aesthetics, interests, preferences– and WHAT gets them off.
So homeslices, as Tupac sang, “Keep Ya Head Up.
More Lxve, D.
Here is my Rejection Theme Song: “