Hey, Rejection, I understand. Life is tough. It’s been hard for you, too. Having to send all those form letters informing the writers that you appreciate them choosing to submit, but that their story/poem/essay/art isn’t a good fit for the magazine/review/journal. Printing those rejections and cutting the paper into little strips…that takes a lot of time. And the paper cuts! Let me just say that I feel your pain. You at least have the courtesy to reply, right? A little form letter is better than nothing, right? You’re a prince compared to the ignored submission. Oh, sorry, I don’t have time to tell you that your story isn’t good enough. You’ll just have to wonder. What’s up with that guy? I’m taking him off the Christmas card list.
I have to say that I respect the work you do, Rejection. As the world of letters begins to go digital, you’re keeping up with the times. People no longer work just from their offices. They’re taking their jobs with them to the beaches and subways and Popeye’s franchises that they love. They’re working from free wi-fi hotspots and from cell phones with unlimited data plans. You’ve had to keep up too! Don’t think I haven’t noticed. Take today, for instance. You came via email. It looked something like this:
Apologies for not reverting sooner.
I’m afraid the _________ Press list is filled.
Two points to make here, Rejection, and I offer them as humbly as I can. 1) I applaud your move to the ‘green’ side of things. No wasted stamps or envelopes or printed materials. A sharp, crisp email is fine by me. It makes me feel good that you aren’t killing trees to get the message across. Together we can save the planet! And 2). I feel funny about mentioning this because you’ve been doing such a good job for so long and it’s really such a minor thing, but this note kind of shows your age. Are you losing a step? See that ‘reverting‘ in there? What’s that doing? It’s not doing anything. It’s all wrong. Why?
Here’s my theory: you wrote your rejection from your iPhone. I’m all for it. I use my iPhone like I was born with it. It’s an amazing device, no? It has a helpful auto-correct function that fixes things our fat thumbs mess up. Usually, I find it quite handy. Sometimes, it fixes stuff I didn’t know was wrong. And it fixes them to yet another wrong word. Now I’m three spaces removed from the word I wanted in the first place. See, I have a feeling that ‘reverted’ was supposed to be a ‘replied’ or perhaps even an ’emailed’ but got mixed up along the way. I’m happy to get the message, Rejection, but that sloppiness sends a pretty sad message, right? I mean, if you aren’t up to the task, who is? In the past, I’ve been comforted by your terse, purposeful prose. You were always on task. Some might believe the wrong word to be a slap in the face of the rejectee. I don’t think so. I refuse to think that way about you. I refuse to believe that you typed the message, saw the auto-corrected word, and decided ‘The heck with it…he’ll get the gist” and pressed send anyway. You wouldn’t do that, would you? I hope not. That’d just be sad, Rejection, sad on so many levels. No, I believe it was an honest mistake. I’m counting on you to pull yourself together. For the sake of the next email or letter you have to send my way, I hope that you’ll proofread and get us all back on our agenda. We need you now more than ever. We need you focused and strong. We need you clear and concise. Stay gold, ponyboy, stay gold.
Thanks, Rejection, for all you’ve done. If you ever need help, or need me to write my own rejection letter to help unburden your tired shoulders, just let me know. Send me a note that say, ‘you’ll have to handle this one on your own.’ I’ll undersand. It’s the least I could do, I think, after all that you’ve done for me.