Monday, June 28, 2010

Rejection at the Speed of Light

Today at 8:04 AM I submitted another humor piece to The New Yorker Shouts & Murmurs column, this time via email and a .pdf. They replied with this chatty and upbeat note:

Thank you for submitting your work to The New Yorker magazine. Your message has been forwarded to the Shouts & Murmurs department. You should receive a reply within three months.

Forty four minutes later (8:48 AM) I received this rejection notice.

Dear Erik, We’re sorry to say that your piece, “Love Tests,” wasn’t right for us, despite its evident merit. Thank you for allowing us to consider your work. Best regards, The Shouts Dept.

Using the latest techniques of cognitive therapy I imagine several possible explanations for this swift sucker punch.

1. Susan Orlean, Woody Allen, and David Sedaris all submitted the exact same article just moments before me and editors are squabbling over which of these luminaries gets the by-line.

2. The unsolicited manuscript rejection committee saw Toy Story 3 over the weekend and now nothing is funny by comparison.

3. The New Yorker staff accidentally left their "automatic rejection" switch on and no one actually read the 760 words I slaved over this weekend; I've been sabotaged by technology.

4. By fantastic oversight on my part I forgot to tell them I was born in New York.

5. By fantastic oversight on their part they assumed nothing funny could come from a town whose tallest building is Ferndale Grain.

6. God wants me to have empathy for the rejects on American Idol.

7. Garrison Keillor's prediction is true, "The future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75."

8. The Shouts Dept. received 18 million unsolicited email submissions this morning and due to budgetary cut backs neither reader had time to savor my scintillating and witty prose.

9. In a science fictiony twist of fate someday New Yorker rejection notices will command big bucks on eBay rendering today's lost royalties a mere trifle.

10. Maybe my piece was so disagreeable they bent the three month rule and immediately rid their offices of my loathsome submission like it was anthrax. Meaning, it wasn't funny. Enough. For. Humor. Connoisseurs.


1 comment:

  1. I vote for option #9.

    And I think your Julie and Julia idea with the cocktail recipe book is brilliant. Uh oh. Maybe you can't publish my comment now since I spilled the beans.