Category: Correspondence

Open Letter to Santorum – Separation of Science and State

Dear Rick Santorum:

The Michigan primary is nearly upon us, and you have an urge to puke. Understandable, with the assault on religion by socialists and phony theologies. I’m afraid it gets much worse, Mr. Santorum. During the struggle between church and state, the spectre of science has been stealthily corrupting our youth, as it casts a fearsome shadow of rigorous, free thinking over public schools.

I believe in an America where the separation of …

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Metafictional Allegory, or Not, You Did Not Write Moby Dick

Dear Unpublished Guy:

I usually don’t respond to the pathetic pleas of a person who has made the misplaced presumption that they are a writer. As I indicated in my initial communication, your submission exceeded our gazette’s word count by a magnitude of 100. Perhaps more to the point, you submitted the novel, Moby Dick, copied verbatim.

I’m afraid that I am not moved by your fair use argument. Your postmodern tom foolery would have …

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Kitten Eater

Dear Unpublished Guy:


Do you actually think kittens are tasty? Judging by the short story you submitted to our journal, you must have dined exclusively on kittens for many years. To call your submission fiction would be inaccurate. In actuality, you have submitted a recipe book puffed up as ailurophobic food porn.

Your unappetizing submission of 10,000 words—which, incidentally, exceeds our stated word limit by 7,000 words—rambled directionless and monotonously as the protagonist prepared …

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Happy People

Dear Ms Unpublished Guy:

We were dismayed that your short story title, Happy People, had not intended to be ironic. The gratuitous acts of good will were truly appalling. We have never before read a story that contained so much unjustified pleasantness simply for the sake of being pleasant. In particular, the description of an Al Qaeda cell and Hasidic children working to together to solve Fermat’s Theorem was particularly difficult to stomach. The …

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Ambrose Bierce Wormhole Western Free Verse Epic Villanelle

Dear Unpublished Guy:

In response to your book proposal:

We applaud your effort to write a free verse epic villanelle. However, as is clearly stated in our submission guidelines we don’t accept Ambrose Bierce Wormhole Westerns. Clearly, the epic poem you submitted fits within that genre. Not only does the conflict in your story center on Ambrose Bierce falling into a wormhole, but Jerry O’Connell is Ambrose sidekick, and Ambrose has a climactic shootout …

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Straight to the Point Rejection Letter

Dear Deranged Individual,

No absolutely not.

What are you smoking?

Blue Oyster Cult, Editors…

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Rejection Letter: My Beetle, My Love

Dear Individual,

Thank you for submitting your fiction to Screw You magazine.

We enjoy reading so many fine short stories, and selecting the fiction to publish can be a difficult decision. So difficult that we often need to read submissions multiple times. We very much appreciate having the opportunity to read such high quality fiction. We were really impressed with the latest batch of submitted stories.

However, your short story, “My Beetle, My Love”, was …

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The Rejected Stories That Egged Me On

While most of the rejections I ever received were of the form letter variety (“not at this time” or “does not fit our current needs”), I did get two that encouraged me to keep trying, perhaps for longer than was good for me.

Rejection #1

The first rejection was for a story that I had written and revised in my first writing workshop while I was pursuing a BA. It included an encouraging note with …

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