Great!

21 Nov

From Crab Creek Review:

As writers ourselves, we understand the considerable undertaking involved in preparing a submission. Please know we read your work with great care but found it just wasn’t a good fit for Crab Creek Review at this time. We wish you great success placing your work elsewhere.

~ The Editors

Great!

Nancy Canyon

If there’s one thing you learn from cluster-bombing good-natured lit rags with unwanted manuscripts, it’s that there are only so many ways to express the same dreadful sentiment. Open enough S.A.S.E.’s and you start seeing the same themes, the same turns of phrase. After awhile, “We have decided to go in another direction” bleeds into, “Your story was not quite right for the journal,” and eventually becomes, “Good stuff, but no.”

What I like about this rejection is its attempt to emotionally align with the author in the struggle for publication. “As writers ourselves” is a beautiful, humane way to set the writer up for the sharp, rusty coup de grace of, “it just wasn’t a good fit.” That the people preparing the guillotine are in the same doomed position softens the blow of defeat just a bit.

But then the rejection takes a turn for the eerily jubilant. As if it weren’t enough that the word “great” was used in two straight sentences, the editor tacks an extra “Great!” onto the end of the letter. From this I may reasonably infer that my work, while bearing some merit, did not quite mesh with the style and tone of Crab Creek Review, probably due to some excess of gore or profanity or descent into pop-culture minutiae that is the hallmark of my fiction. In any case, the oddly cheerful annotation scribbled at the bottom of this rejection makes for a welcome, if jarring, boost of adrenaline after the drop of the blade.

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One Response to “Great!”

  1. Michel Sauret December 12, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    After a rejection like that, and that “Great” snuck in at the end, I’d feel rather conflicted.

    By the way, do you share any of your acceptance letters? (maybe I haven’t read enough of your blog to come across one yet)

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