Friday, October 1, 2010

You Be The Judge

We haven't had cause for rejected story corner (RSC) in years, have we?  RSC is where all the mice come out and read short stories/literary essays that have been rejected and decide if it's worthy of publishing after all.  The whole thing was something of a flop, but I received an email that just screams of RSC revival.  Have a look:
I submitted my essay for the 'confessions' issues [of a national women's magazine]. It was a true story of a practical joke a friend and I played on my sister-in-law, that took on a life of its own. Before you judge let me say my husband's sister was a teller of really tall tales ("I'm going on tour with Joan Jett," "Revlon is offering me a contract," that sort of thing), and I decided to call her on it. As for the confession part – we never even told my husband until it was over. Our excuse was that we wanted a 'clean' man on the outside in case anything went down (ie, someone who could pass a polygraph).
My essay was rejected. I'm used to rejection. But the only essay included that month by [another] Atlanta writer was in my humble opinion stupid. The point of her essay was that she always tried to make sure she wore a necklace every day, no matter how she felt, so people would think she had it all together. Right. Now what made it ridiculous to me, was that this gal is a local columnist, owner of a boutique PR firm with high profile political clients, and is often featured in the daily rag for her happy hours with the girls. You know, how their shoes cost more than most folks monthly car note, their cocktail tab (for 4 – 6 dames) hit just under a grand, yeah, like that. Her husband is a well known local celebrity in broadcasting who, according to the newspaper, made about half a mil a year. And I'm supposed to give any part of a rodent's anatomy that she wears a necklace to give the appearance she's together?
Now I'm really not one to toot my own vuvuzuela(sp?,) but this time I thought my story much more meaningful and entertaining. And if you would like to judge for yourself, it is the first post on my blog Memoirs Of A Misanthrope, and is titled “Don't F*%k With Me.”
Is this essay worthy of publication in a national women's magazine? Thanks to The Misanthrope for sending it in.

12 comments:

oryperin said...

That was a good essay, the only critique I have is the flow and the pacing, parts seem rushed or glossed over when more detail could have helped. Some parts could do with less detail. All in all, nothing that an editor couldn't clean up.

Not having read the winning piece, it's hard to say that her essay doesn't stand on its own merit. But the connection-ey clubbyness of it is suspicious. The idea of wearing a totem item (eg necklace) everyday is interesting, so it might have been a very moving essay to the right reader.

I think in these contests they should publish a mix of styles--humor, sappy, philosophical, etc--rather than choose one piece to set the tone. I'm partial to humorous essays myself, and had I entered the contest, I would have written about a prank, not a necklace.

Anonymous said...

I loved the story! I'm amazed at how some people are able to think up such antics, I laughed out loud and wished that I had such a great imagination.

The author made me wish that this was a tv show so that I could see her expression when she received that "special" call. LOL

Keep up the good work.

Beth Coffey said...

Great story — and it should be published. We all know someone like Rita, and I love how she was set up.

Anonymous said...

decent premise, lousy execution. the diction is cliche ridden. i don't see a national magazine publishing this.

Collin Kelley said...

Hilarious story, and very well written. I'm sure the magazine didn't select it because it was a little too "real" for them. It wasn't up with people or sister-supporting-sister or rich white lady enough. I'd flesh it out a bit more -- I want more quotes from Rita -- and submit it again!

Anonymous said...

I that it should be published!

Anonymous said...

I can see why this was rejected, even though it's very entertaining. Major women's magazines aren't big on being mean, and even though Rita sounds like a monster, the author doesn't sound like an angel herself; there's some real cruelty involved in stringing Rita along. And then there are the potential libel issues...no big magazine wants to open itself to getting sued by some drug-abusing fantasist. Women's mags can seem kind of boring because of their insistence on niceness and positive thinking, but those are the rules they play by. This piece would have to express a lot more compassion for Rita, and a little genuine remorse, and (most important of all) come up with a happy ending (for all concerned) in order to fit the women's mag template. The PR chick who won the contest probably understood those rules because that kind of happy talk is also how a lot of PR works. This is why blogs are often more fun to read than magazines.

Kimmie Sue Ruby Lou said...

Amazing, all my life I've been searching for the one thing that would prove I have it all together...now I know...which necklace will I wear today? The tiny urn of ashes or the one made of beer bottle tabs? Being a woman is so hard...maybe you should write and article about the drama, dilemma and importance of finding the right bra! DON'T F**K WITH JENNIFERY PERRY!~

Anonymous said...

Great story — it should be published

Anonymous said...

LOVED this piece, it's very well written, made me laugh and gave me chills at once - unfortunately I too know a "Rita", a version of her anyway. Disturbing and sad, and dangerous if you ever let them too close. It might be some kind of mental disorder that has yet to be named...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, what the other anon above said: women's mags go for positive, and this essay is just too mean.

Jan Goodman said...

Hilarious! And I would absolutely love to hear the entire story. I've followed that blog since it started, and I've met the writer through mutual friends. She's actually very kind, and funny, but I've been told she has to really be pushed to do something that seems mean.
I do know I'd be at the head of the line to buy her first book. Please write a book, Ms Misanthrope!