Thursday, February 22, 2007

Did you ever get a rejection you were so sorry to get that you hardly got beyond the second sentence (which couched the news)? Then you flew over the rest, and rapidly scratched the submission from your list of those outstanding?

Then, maybe four months later, or five, or a whole year, you went back and read the letter again, and realized it was in no way harsh, and maybe even kind?

And did you feel like an oaf, or an egomaniac, or a pair of idiot mittens?

And was that worse than the humiliation you felt for being rejected in the first place?


Andrew Shields said...

The only rejection I ever received that seriously bugged me was from a journal that sent me a form rejection on which someone had written "please look at the journal before submitting." I had looked at the website, read poems that seemed like they could be friends with my poems, and submitted. So I checked again: more poems that looked like mine.

I blacklisted the journal.

SarahJane said...

Form rejections are particularly tricky. Also because they often say something like that, as if you'd never read (ie bought) the journal at all. But to actually have that handwritten on there when you had the feeling you'd fit... !

Of course there are poets who don't check what a journal is like and just blindly submit. And it stings to think the editors think you're one of them.

Andrew Shields said...

I like that phrase "a pair of idiot mittens," by the way.

Ash said...

The worst rejection I've received (to date) was from an editor who solicited work from me. He said he'd read a certain poem of mine that isn't really the type of poem that I usually write. I responded and told him that the poem he liked was very atypical of the stuff I usually wrote. He responded that he'd be interested in reading anything I cared to send his way. When he rejected the stuff I sent him, he wrote me a pissy note wanting to know why I bothered to send poems that weren't like the poem that he really liked.

SarahJane said...

ash, one would like to attribute it to a lack of short-term memory, but probably he's just an asshole.

Carl Bryant said...

I know exactly what you mean about overreacting, Sarah. I had a similar reaction to a rejection letter for a newsletter essay from the American Association of Pacifists.

Ah - if I couldn't only have that bullet back.

SarahJane said...

did you shoot the letter?

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