It is, of course, always a difficult task to select just one story from among so many excellent pieces—there were nearly fourteen hundred entries this year—
The banal language of rejection.
I often think there’s money to be made in putting together a book about rejections. I envision a small volume, the kind that sits by the cash register in bookstores. Of course, given the pitiful number of bookstores still in existence, this might be a plan whose day has come and gone.
I have begun to consider titles, gleaned of course from one of the egregious letters.
Dear Ms. Robertson, Thank you for submitting your story to . . .
Dear Ms. Robertson, It is always difficult to select just one story
Dear Dean Robertson,
I certainly wouldn’t want to leave out the global statements inviting your sympathy. Poor judges, having to read fourteen hundred short stories, some of them no doubt grimly awful.
Then there are the insulting compliments that are worded only to confuse,
Although you have written a very fine story that our judges enjoyed reading, it doesn’t fit our needs at this time.
Or even more hurtful,
It isn’t suitable for our publication.
I believe it just might work. I will begin with the thirteen hundred and ninety-nine writers who have recently received rejections from the very same competition that didn’t want my stories.
I’ll start right away composing an email asking for entries.
I think I’m onto something.