Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Reject is a Reject is a Reject

One wisecracking editor wrote this rejection to Gertrude Stein:* "I am only one, only one, only. Only one bein, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one brain. Only one being. Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your MS three or four ties. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy should sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one." Mean, but funny.


*From Rotten Rejection: A Literary Companion, Edited by Andre Bernard (Puschart Press, 1990)

5 comments:

Cattle Call said...

WR: I'd be really curious to know how Andre Bernard worded his query letter for that Rotten Rejection book. Given the 2000/1 odds in the slushpile treasure hunt, maybe he sold the agent with the notion of a huge captive audience? ( lightbulb over agent's head: "riiight..." s(he) says, "...this is going to be one healthy 15% ."

the individual voice said...

Mean, funny, and a shitload of slush manuscripts on her desk and floor she'll be complaining about to everyone at the end of her mean, funny day when all she got done was the perfecting of that one mean, funny letter. Why can't people just do their jobs?

seksy potato said...

Yeah, that editor wishes. As if.

Cattle Call said...

Exactly right, Indie.

Jeremy Hatch said...

Re the time spent on this: I'd give ten to one odds that rejection letter was dashed off as a first draft in a matter of minutes ... it's a pretty obvious parody, not much engaged with Stein's experiments. Though it got a laugh out of me, and apparently out of Stein (I'm supposing she kept it), it doesn't look like something that's been revised a whole lot. Not to me, anyway.