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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Coffee-Stain-Police-Violence Rejection

So much craziness going on in one little rejection.  I am tempted to point out all the fun here, but I think I'll let you mice have at it.  What do you see? Let's rorschach that coffee stain!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


This one was sent in by an LROD mouse. So I don't know its origin, but it's a chipper little note offering "greetings," as in I bring you greetings of joy and glad tidings. (Or something; I may have that wrong.) But, anyway, not really. Stop trying to fool us. It's just another rejection:
"Greetings! Thank you for the opportunity to read your work. We're sorry to say that after careful consideration, we have decided not to publish your submission. We do wish you the best of luck placing it elsewhere, however, and with all your writing endeavors."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm Taking to My Bed

Peeps. Agent 99 got back with encouraging words about the direction, though her take away message is that we're not there yet. I need to make the whole thing work. That is to say that some re-imagining must take place in order for the novel to work in harmony as a whole. Got to find a way to spread the magic evenly and in a well paced way. Not easy, I know. Lots of thinking off the page to make it work, plus it's hard for me to see it all clearly at the moment. Such a game of time, this writing is: we are either waiting for someone to get back to us, or we are waiting for inspiration to occur. Anyway, for today, I'm taking to my bed to try to dream a cohesive entity into being. It's a snow day. I'm stumped. Plus I stuck a rusty drill bit tool (I guess technically it's an ice pick) into my hand, made a crazily sickening puncture wound, and had to get a tetanus shot yesterday; today it feels like my arm was used as a punching bag. I think maybe I was trying to kill myself the slow, hard, drill-bit way, or else I'm just insanely accident prone lately: I'll spare you the details but I've fallen, smashed the side view mirror on my spouse's car, and lost my cell phone about 700 times this week alone. Just one of those times when it all goes wrong-ish. Luckily, nothing serious, just annoying. So, anyway, I'll let you know how the novel-imagining goes. I told 99 that I would need a solid year of working to make it happen. Again, time, right? Well, mice, what the hell else would I do with myself in 2011? At least I have a focus and a meaningful task ahead. What about you?  What literary torture/nirvana are you creating with your year? Got a plan yet?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Even Let Yourself Hope?

This journal takes the guess work out of your submission. "The founding principle of the Journal of Universal Rejection (JofUR) is rejection. Universal rejection. That is to say, all submissions, regardless of quality, will be rejected." 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another Mid-American Rejection

Writer's Name: We are so sorry for the delay in responding to your work. However, we are thankful for the time we have had with this submission. Best wishes for the new year. Thank you for submitting to MAR.  Best, The Editors

For information on our literary contests, about our yearly writing festival Winter Wheat, how to acquire an issue of MAR, or for general queries, please visit our website:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What George Orwell Says

I'm reading a great little book in the Penguin Books Great Ideas Series called Why I Write by George Orwell. I highly recommend it. Here are some Thursday words of wisdom for you about writing from George:
"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a window pane." 
Amen to that, bro.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Good Bye Reading

The Wall Street Journal on Vooks. Soon none of the letters strung together will mean anything without photos and videos and interactivity. Vooks! Oy vey.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fran Lebowitz--The Opposite of Yesterday

The thing about the Sunday New York Times is that if you read through the whole thing, you will find just about everything, including something to counterbalance the hideousness of what we found about writing in the Sunday Styles.  That is to say, Fran Lebowitz on the opinion page, which was a list of aphorisms, such as the following:

  • All modesty is false
  • All strangers are perfect
  • All musicals are revivals
  • All pets are adopted
  • All smoke is secondhand
  • All vegetables are organic
  • All mothers are single
  • All favorites are sentimental
  • All consciences are guilty
  • All endings are happy
  • All fanatics are religious
  • No thought is consoling
  • No speculation is idle
  • There is no business not like show business
If you haven't seen Scorsese's HBO documentary on Lebowitz, "Public Speaking," you need to check it out. Totally brilliant. Here's the funny thing: Lebowitz is a writer now famous for writers block, but what a writer! Read her work if you can. Which goes to show, in some crazy way, you don't have to be writing to be a writer. Opposite of yesterday's post subject.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sloane Crosley: Ruining It For Real Writers Everywhere

I know it's impolite and politically incorrect to indicate that someone who is actually writing and publishing books is *not* really a writer, and so I will avoid refuting the obvious. That said, 32-year-old Sloane Crosley makes me want to holler out the window of serious writing. Single handedly she has made it all the more difficult for serious writers to be taken seriously. I mean, is she that tone deaf and/or blind to her new role as writer (as opposed to her "old role" as publicist)?  Does she not know that never the twain are supposed to meet?  Especially not in one well-clad wardrobe?  Are there no mirrors in her house? The article of which I complain is entitled "What I Wore" (mostly to brunch and drinks, BTW) and appears in today's New York Times' Style Section. I hold it out to you as proof that writing is dead, and Sloane Crosley is holding the stiletto that stabbed us all in the heart. Here's a mind-destroying, name-dropping highlight just for you:
Sunday Jan 2: I went to Elephant & Castle in Levi’s jeans, a Kain T-shirt, Roberto Del Carlo boots and Cutler and Gross glasses. For the rest of the day I read, wrote and watched edited incarnations of movies I actually own on TV. This doesn’t require much in the way of accessories aside from a lint roller for my lap. At night I took a friend to drinks at Old Town and dinner at Max wearing gray Converse, a vest from Les Prairies de Paris and a tote bag from Essex Street Market, with a vintage Balmain scarf of my mom’s tied to it. 
Monday, Jan 3: After splashing coffee on myself at Café Grumpy, I spent the morning at the library wearing a Uniqlo button-down, Reiss sweater, Chloé pants and Prada shoes. I also spent it working. Otherwise, that would just be bad performance art. I had lunch with an editor at Má Pêche, where I got pickled vegetables on my pants. Apparently I have an eating disorder like Ted Striker has a drinking problem. Luckily I was carrying a patent-leather Coach bucket bag that looks like an oil spill and is immune to absorption. 
Tuesday, Jan 4: I had a 9 a.m. breakfast with my friend Elizabeth Spiers at Morandi. As we both work from home, we’ve decided to do this twice a week in 2011. I wore Uniqlo tights, Valentino flats, a polka-dot dress by Lewis Cho and a Burberry coat. Then to the library again, but I left in the afternoon to come home and write in white Helmut Lang jeans and a blue Rag & Bone button-down.
Truly, truly (and for so many, many reasons that I can't go into right now) this makes me sad.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Down for the Count

Dudes, I had a little surgery yesterday, so was offline. Nothing glamorous like a face/ass lift or a nose/boob job.  Just a little oral situation that needed fixing so my teeth will stay in my head as I grow older. Very vulnerable having people sticking their hairy hands in your mouth and cut at your gums, though the Vicodin sure does help in a magical way.  Did you ever notice how good narcotics make the air smell?  Like pure goodness in the form of breathable gas. Last night, I also thought I could see the blood coursing through the veins in my hands. (As you can see, I'm not much of a heavy weight with the drugs.)  I'm already off them today, except for ibuprofen. I'll be back good as new, and chewing solids, by Monday. Have a good long weekend everybody. Agent 99 may be in touch with feedback as soon as Tuesday. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Music To The Ear

We cannot distribute this album, but wouldn't mind producing your next project. Now, that's what I call a good rejection! Of course, music was a different world in 1980 too.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

She Has An Imaginary Literary Magazine

Love the chutzpah of this writer and her imaginary rejection letters. "Dear Author: You repulse my soul....This is not a metaphor."  Check out the others.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Good Riddance to Narrative

For my New Year's effort to purge today (1.11.11 BTW), I am unsubscribing to many cluttering newsletters, including Narrative Magazine.  I swear I got 3 emails a week from those peeps, and had really not read a single one for about a year.  So, a fond farewell to 2010 and with it Narrative Magazine.  You who still believe will have to alert me if anything noteworthy happens. In the meantime, I sent the novel revision in to Agent 99, who seemed truly excited to read it.  She said she'll get back to me after MLK weekend. Fingers crossed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Don't Come Calling Without An Agent

Looks like Tin House has a new policy. The mouse who sent this in noted that he would no longer be reading Tin House in protest.  What do you think?  I for one have been rejected roundly (and lead on here and there by a Tin House editor of two) for all my projects (sent without an agent, which perhaps proves their point). So the policy no longer applies to me, but I do think it's unfortunate.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Handwriting Analysis, Anyone?

I've been rejected by Diana Finch, I think, but not via personal messaging. My impression was that she was a young agent, but this handwriting looks like my Nonnie's script. Anyone out there care to analyze? Be smart about it; this agent graduated from Harvard.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Not Real Science Rejection Classic

My favorite part of this cheeky rejection is the casual suggestion that the author turn the book into, oh, I don't know, say, a series of articles. Why? 'Cuz that's just as good? The author doesn't think so; see the gloss in the margin.  ("Hah!") Keep your condescending suggestions to yourself, Penguin.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fill In The Rest Yourself

Someone pulled this off the Interwebs and sent it to me.  In truth, you don't really need to see the whole thing to guess what it says.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Must We Reject You More Than Once?

A lovely rejection to start the new year right. It's a good resolution: don't send submissions to places that have already rejected your work. But you knew that, right? Actually, if truth be told, I've probably done this very misguided thing. Seems like editorial staffing used to change round the clock, so I'm quite sure on a few occasions, I used that chaos to my advantage. I mean, what if the fresh young new editor happened to like my work more than the drab old editor? Anyway, nothing worse than getting caught though. The rejection above was sent in by an LROD reader as a warning to all. Be careful out there, mice.