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.