Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Judson Merrill Rejects Them All

The Interwebs are all abuzz with this tidbit from writer Judson Merrill who really lets 'em have it. My fave is this:

Dear Pebble Lake Review: Congratulations on not accepting my story. In a way, I’m jealous. I bet it’s satisfying to grind out a man’s carefully kindled dignity. Your communiqué, however, did leave me with a few concerns. You write, “We hope you will submit again in the future.” Many thanks! Since the story I submitted is my strongest, I will certainly send it again in the future. In fact, just this morning I found an embarrassing use of “than” when I meant “then.” In case that error is the reason you initially passed on the story, please find the corrected version attached. The future is now! Look forward to hearing from you, Judson


TeacherHst said...

Well I am glad it isn't just me. I wish some of the agents put in the effort I did to write the book. I had one that apologized for not replying in a timely manner (I sent it just two hours earlier). He also stated that he apologizes for not accepting my work as he may or may not think he is the best agent(he either is or he isn't).

Anonymous said...

This is weak. Just based on the lameness of this anti-rejections letter, I can imagine why the original story was rejected. What sin exactly did Pebble Lake Review commit? Lit mags reject more stories than they take--which means they often reject good stories for reasons they alone know. It ain't personal, folks. If you feel like going on crusades, by the way, why not let's try crusading for social justice, the environment, an end to war. . .not the mere insult that our words weren't well enough received by Pebble Lake Review, because in the end it's Pebble Lake Review that is really the pissant here. You think they got the next Faulkner or Flannery? It's probably just some middle age edu-crats putting out a mag no one will buy with a really ugly cover. Get over it, dudes, and right something that Ted Genoways might want.

Anonymous said...

This Merrill character's a tool. Yeah, I know people aren't down with the ad hominem thing, but his blog just reeks with entitlement. To one editor, he suggests a choice: accept his work or "die at 41 of a stress-induced coronary." And yeah, I know I probably lack a sense of humor, but as an editor of a lit journal myself, I swear I'll reject his a*s so fast if I ever spot his junk in my slush.

Anonymous said...

You don't lack a sense of humor, Anon. This dude just isn't funny. Worse, it's painfully transparent just how hard he's _trying_ to be funny. His rejections of the rejections aren't original, either. (Are the Interwebz really all abuzz about this? Really? I just don't see it.)

bookfraud said...

i hate to hate on mr. merrill, but i agree: if this is the best letter he can write excoriating something called "pebble lake review," then he really needs to look in the mirror, 'cause this letter's kinda crappy.

"carefully kindled dignity" is a bit of a head-scratcher. as is "the future is now!" i went ahead and clicked on his blog--he spends a lot of time and energy on kindling his belligerence, perhaps more than on writing fiction itself.

it would be a lot more interesting if he wrote this as a high-concept piece of performance art, a la lazlo toth. now that would be worth an interweb buzz.

Lina said...

Whoa, I just checked his blog and he sends these out to practically every mag that rejects him. Here's what he wrote to Mid American Review:

Dear Mid-American Review,

Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful note.

You write, "We have seen this story before and have passed on it before. Please do not submit this story again." However, please see the attached track changes document for proof that the last three submissions, though similar, have all been different drafts with different word counts and, in one case, a new title. Also please see the attached newest draft of my story. Trust me, it’s very different from anything you’ve seen before. I recently got five very good and surprising ideas for a new ending. Can you guess which one I chose? No. You can’t. It’s too surprising for guesses.


This is either all fabricated, or some kind of performance art piece. I really don't think there is an actual writer doing this on a regular basis. Of course, I'm often wrong when I disbelieve how nutty people can actually be.

Could perhaps Mr. Merrill himself weigh in on this?

Anonymous said...

Linda, I thought it was clear he doesn't actually send these letters to the magazines. He's just trying to be funny -- of course it's ridiculous to resubmit the same story with three small changes.

The problem is, his efforts are neither original nor funny.

handlebar mustache said...

Once when I was interning at a lit mag someone sent us a peanut butter sandwich as a submission. All smashed up in its manilla envelope. Now THAT was funny!

Anonymous said...

Dang, I wished someone would have sent us peanut butter sandwiches-- it would have saved money at dinner time. Then again, we probably all would have been fighting for that one sandwich-- and where's the fun in that, clawing for weeks' old foodstuffs when we all probably had fresh ramen packages in our pantry.