As someone who has been writing letters of rejection 30 or 40 times a day for more than 35 years, I have considerable sympathy for my friend the writer-and an appreciation for the dilemma of "the editor," someone compelled to reject far more often than accept and to manage relationships with writers that are wildly lopsided. The editor has almost obscenely exaggerated power, since the ratio of candidates to published stories is so enormous (at least 1,000 to 1 at the Atlantic Monthly) and the writer's emotional stake in acceptance or rejection is so huge.He parses out the meaning of different rejections, and offers some insight, probably nothing you don't already know. Still, a helpful read.
Monday, July 21, 2014
this guy (who is NOT my father)? He wrote an essay titled "How to Read a Rejection," which on the whole is very interesting. You can read it here. Consider his words of wisdom on the power dynamics involved in rejection:
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Smoke in your face and an avalanche of rejections for a Joan Didion story circa 1965:
Saturday Evening Post:
Many of us read it and a great many were excited and insistent in their admiration of it. Others, and they include Bill Emerson who has the final vote, also admired it but felt that it was wrong for the Post, not so much because of its subject matter, but also because of the oblique method of narration.
The New Yorker:
As a whole it just isn’t effective enough.
Ladies’ Home Journal:
Too negative for us.
I feel very bad about rejecting this story — not because I think it’s really a well worked-out story but because the writing is so awfully good. She has a very special way of involving the reader… but I’m turning this down, reluctantly, because I don’t think it’s a successful story in the end.
Just too brittle.
While “The Wellfare Island Ferry” is almost my favorite among the stories we have published… I feel that “When Did Music Come this Way?” is not quite as good.
Not quite right for us.
Unable to use this particular story.
The Atlantic Monthly:
I hope you’ll be sending us more of Joan Didion’s work, but this didn’t make it, so back to you.
Alas, not right for The Reporter.
Via: Brainpicker.com whose magnitude for reading and writing interesting blog posts seems endless. Thank you. (Plus to be totally transparent, this is also a pick up of the cool yellow Brainpicker quotation marks, with which I am now officially in love.)Marvelously written, very real, and so utterly depressing that I’m going to sit under a cloud of angst and gloom all afternoon… I’m sorry we are seldom inclined to give our readers this bad a time.
p.s. Interesting to see what the respectable magazine rounds for a story were in 1965.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson. Guess he didn't like the book.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Thursday, July 10, 2014
"After all, your pigs are far more intelligent than the other animals, and therefore are the best qualified to run the farm -- in fact there couldn't have been an Animal Farm without them: so that what was needed (someone might argue) was not more communism but more public-spirited pigs."Is he defending Stalin here? And wouldn't a more "public-spirited" pig be a communist pig? Not sure I get it, but I'm not as smart as all that anyway.
Monday, July 7, 2014
Is this the nightmare-iest HR executive return application letter ever? Can you imagine applying for a job at Trader Joe's and getting this horror show back as your rejection letter? I mean, maybe the poor, young applicant seriously dodged a bullet by missing this hiring opportunity by this sadistic individual. I mean, a lesson to young person is one thing, a humiliation is quite another. Am I wrong?