Monday, November 23, 2009

A Brief Note on Rejection




It seems a little early in the life of this blog to complain, but I will try to keep it brief and informative. In the last week I have received two "creative" rejections. One came from an anthology project that had already accepted my work almost a year ago. Imagine my surprise to find out that eight months later, I was no longer in favor. I wrote the editor (in a fit of passion) saying he could not reject me and supplying the email in which he had accepted me. Yes, it was a mistake and all ended happily. As a former editor, I know how easily letters can go out to the wrong people. However; today's encounter seems more problematic. I received a rejection from a journal that published my work two years ago. You read that correctly. In an SASE I received a rejection slip and a cover letter belonging to another writer whose name is similar to mine. Not the same, but similar. I guess the good news is that neither of the rejection letters were really meant for me. Have you had weird and sundry non-rejection rejection letters? I'd love to hear others experiences. I have to say these two faux rejections right before the holidays have left me a bit bewildered. What will I find in my  mailbox tomorrow?

10 comments:

  1. It's a sad commentary on the process of submitting. Your "lucky" turn of events gives me hope that my most recent rejection will be a mistake!

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  2. By its very nature, the process is strange. I don't really care for email rejections either. I miss the moment of staring down the envelope - is it fat? Thin? A full-length sheet of paper or a quarter size re-Xeroxed slip? I've also had poems "rejected" that the journal later printed (twice in different journals). May your rejection lead to acceptances galore!

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  3. Hi Susan, this post caught my attention. Not long ago I received an e-mail rejection that came in about 7 or 8AM then a few hours later I got an another e-mail rejection identical to the first, followed by another saying I may have received an e-mail in error. This was followed by yet another e-mail promoting the journal. My results were not as uplifting as the first e-mail was in fact correct.

    I too like the suspense of opening an envelope even if it's a rejection.

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  4. Hi Michael,

    Email rejections like that seem a new sort of water torture - for poets at least. A few of the journals still send out old-fashioned acceptance letters -- hand written and personal. I hope that doesn't disappear. Happy Thanksgiving! A day free from rejection or acceptance...

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  5. Susan, I was rejected by an MFA program three times for one application: once by the MFA dept., once by the financial aid dept., and once by the regular grad school admissions dept. Luckily, I'd already been accepted at Arkansas while I received those envelopes. As to poem rejections, I received a regular mail rejection from a journal followed three days later by an email acceptance for one of the poems. It was a funny feeling...bewildering as you say.

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  6. Sandy: At least we know we're not alone. I suspect that human error is a way of teaching us to not take rejection personally - or perhaps I am too optimistic. A friend last night told of a rejection story dealing with photographers. I was happy to know that bewildering behavior was not poet-specific!

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  7. Susan, Yes...human error is a great teacher! After so many years of riding the acceptance/rejection roller coaster, I think I may finally be getting the hang of not taking it personally. Well, at least not taking it personally for more than a minute or two when the thin little rejection envelope arrives.

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  8. Sandy, Yesterday I received in the mail what I've decided is my least favorite response: "We are holding these poems for publication but this does not guarantee their publication." Usually, I think this does end in publication ... but it seems so much the "he loves me, he loves me not" routine. I guess not taking it personally is something we constantly need to relearn. Or perhaps I should just speak for myself. Have a lovely holiday - however you spend it.

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  9. Ah, I had that happen once, and it did end in publication, thankfully. Hope yours ends successfully as well.

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  10. Thanks, Sandy! There is nothing on the slip that gives a date. The editor says she will be in touch with a contract - or I won't hear a thing. It's a harsh world out there ... Happy Holidays!

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