Interpretation of a Rejection Letter

It happened.

My first rejection letter darkened my inbox this week.

I submitted an article to a journal and truly, truly, truly I did it to get over the fear of actually sending something off for consideration.

Well, let me tell you, I am exquisitely good at lying to myself.  When I saw the message in my inbox, my heart flipped and fluttered at the sheer prospect of my piece being published.  I opened the e-mail and as quickly as it flipped and fluttered, my little heart sank.  I swear I felt it drop down to my stomach.  I didn’t know how badly I wanted to be accepted.

Until I wasn’t.

I have included my rejection letter sans identifying information because I love this journal even though it doesn’t love me back.

After you read it, don’t go firing off comments about how rejection is part of being a writer.  I know that.  Being stung is part of being a beekeeper, but it still hurts a little bit.

For your benefit, I have translated editor speak into regular people language.

Ms. McCauley,
Thank you for your submission.  We’d run out of toilet paper and it was the perfect substitute. The editors have read and considered your piece and, unfortunately, will not be able to publish it.  Because you are a ghastly writer and your overzealous use of sentence fragments made the editors want to claw their eyes out. The current editorial team is currently coming to the end of its tenure and the few remaining slots have all been filled with other pieces.  No way in hell were the current editors going to publish drivel like that in their swan song issue.  Seriously, no way. We are sorry we can’t offer you better news, but we just can’t because your writing is that bad, and we are sorry for the significant delay in getting you this decision as the editors made their difficult choices, but we had to allow enough time to pass it around the office so that everyone including the UPS man could mock both you and your article, but we wish you all the best as you continue your writing, if that’s what you’re calling it.  And please stop calling it that. Thank you for your interest in our journal. We hope you will enjoy reading pieces by writers who are by far your superior.

Kind Regards,

Editorial Assistant, the one who drew the short straw and had to figure out a polite way to tell you that your writing is dreadful.  Maybe you should consider a career at Safeway.  By the way, your outfit sucks, too.  I haven’t seen it, but I’m confident that it does.

So there you have it, the first in what I’m sure will be a long line of rejection letters.  I’m heading to Safeway today to pick up a job application.

7 thoughts on “Interpretation of a Rejection Letter

  1. Well there you go. That about sums it up. Especially the outfit. Certainly that outfit did not have the benefit of a Mac Photo Booth. Better luck next time.

    Oh, Alicia. Next time, indeed.
    XOXO Lynn


    1. alicia

      Lynn, I’m cracking up because I have a wedding to attend this weekend and I was just taking photo booth shots of potential dresses! As for the writing, maybe I’ll pull a Stephen King and start posting my rejection letters on a huge nail in the wall.


  2. Julie Hinson

    You must have sent your article to the wrong publication. Your rejection letter had me in stitches. Even Crespa had to investigate why I was laughing.

    I won’t remind you about that whole that’s part of being a writer stuff, but at least you had the courage to send an article in for consideration.

    Sorry it hurt… I love reading your writing.


    1. alicia

      Julie, I was home alone when I read the rejection letter the first ten times. I was so bummed out that I actually hugged my Christmas tree.


  3. pkittle

    So this reminded me completely of a Far Side cartoon identifying the difference between what we say to dogs, and what the dogs hear. Your letter’s editorial expansion captures that sentiment perfectly.

    Gotta say when I saw your email forward I did the same little stomach flutter–I was certain it was good news! I was discombobulated, shall we say, at the rejection. I can’t repeat anything I said at that moment, or I’d run the risk of you unfriending me on Facebook …


  4. P.S. The wrong person clearly read your article, or maybe it just wasn’t right for their needs at the time, because you are one of the best, most beautiful writers I know. You always leave me breathless. So, they’re just dumb.


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